Southgate relishing St Mary's clash

By SFC Media Mon 09 Sep International
Photo by Julian FInney | Getty Images

England boss Gareth Southgate says he is relishing seeing his side play at St Mary’s tomorrow night against Kosovo, after previous positive experiences of touring the country.

The fixture is the Three Lions’ first competitive home fixture away from Wembley Stadium since 2006, and the first on the south coast since 2002.

Since Saturday’s meeting with Bulgaria, Southgate’s men have utilised Staplewood Campus to train and he is looking forward to what he feels will be a game with real intensity.

“We’re delighted to be coming down to Southampton to play. Our experiences of taking the team around the country have been really positive and I know the tickets sold out here really quickly,” Southgate began.

“We’re looking forward to a brilliant atmosphere tomorrow night and we know it will be a very tough game. I’ve been very impressed with Kosovo in the way that they’ve played and the results that they’ve had.

“We’re expecting a different sort of challenge to Saturday (against Bulgaria) but one we’re looking forward to.”

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Kosovo arrive off the back of a morale-boosting success against Czech Republic last time out, courtesy of goals from Vedat Muriqi and Mergim Vojvoda and remain unbeaten in Euro 2020 qualification.

That result has put them second behind England, two points ahead of Czech Republic in Group A, and Southgate says he doubts that people will be surprised the quality the visitors possess tomorrow night.

“They have the longest unbeaten record in Europe so that in itself is a stat that should make people take notice,” he added.

“I’m sure the supporters here are looking forward to seeing England come to their city and I’m sure they’re looking forward to the game and getting behind the team as much as the other places we’ve played away from Wembley.

“I think they will see for the themselves the quality of the opposition and the desire of the opposition will make it really intense game.”

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