Fans have been left surprised with England announcing that they are set to stage two upcoming friendlies at a Championship stadium.
England state that their senior team will be heading to Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium this summer, as they play two UEFA Euro 2020 warm-up fixtures against Austria and Romania.
The Three Lions will be based in the north-east for both matches as Gareth Southgate’s squad kickstart their summer preparations in the north-east.
The FA continue: “England will face fellow EURO finalists Austria on Wednesday 2 June (8pm*) before taking on Romania on Sunday 6 June (5pm*) for obligatory pre-tournament fixtures.
“With Wembley Stadium gearing up to be a EURO 2020 host venue, the Three Lions are once again heading out on the road having played in Manchester, Sunderland, Leeds, Leicester and Southampton since 2016.
“And the Riverside Stadium was selected to host both fixtures to help support a COVID-secure environment for the squad.
“It’s a familiar venue for England, having previously welcomed a number of our national teams; most recently the senior women’s 2-1 defeat by Brazil in October 2019 while the men’s under-21s have played there on eight previous occasions since the stadium opened in 1995.
“The senior men’s team’s only previous game at the Riverside was a 2-1 EURO 2004-qualifying win over Slovakia in June 2003, although they played at Middlesbrough’s old Ayresome Park ground on three occasions between 1905 and 1937.
“As things stand, the fixtures are scheduled to be played behind-closed-doors but we’ll continue to liaise with relevant authorities and explore the possibility of supporters being in attendance.
“Should it be deemed safe for fans to attend then any ticketing arrangements will be communicated via the FA and not Middlesbrough FC. Both matches will be televised live on ITV.
“After their stay in Teesside, the squad will travel to St. George’s Park which is the squad’s designated EURO 2020 basecamp.
“The Three Lions are drawn against Croatia, Scotland and Czech Republic in Group D. All three fixtures will be played at Wembley with dates set for Sunday 13 June (2pm, v Croatia), Friday 18 June (8pm, v Scotland) and Tuesday 22 June (8pm, v Czech Republic).”
Meanwhile, Two English stadiums are set to host Euro 2020 games this summer with UEFA braced for city Dublin looking likely to pull out.
That would give Gareth Southgate and his Three Lions side the prospect of an extra match on home turf this summer, although NOT at Wembley.
Fans reacted with England to stage two friendlies at Championship outfit Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium…
@mfcAlfie_: we’re huge
@__MatthewBrown: Massive this!
@sjacko1976: Up The Boro
@beston_thomas: Stadium of light >>
@Stevie_Piper: Please tell me with a full stadium
@tomlownsbrough: Please let us in by then Boris
@bethanydids_HBW: Day after my birthday!!! Are we allowed in cause I wanna go!!!
@BigBoris11: I know we’re still playing in empty stadiums, but when fans are back I hope England can play around the country and not just at soulless Wembley. It was great when the new Wembley was being built and other stadiums held England games, miles more atmosphere.
@ED6ix: Why not eland rd or Hillsborough
@philbarker29: fucking mint
@mrcrh11: Good to finally see internationals in the region, not been many over the years. Hope fans can come
@AyresomeGates: Gareth has surely got to bring back the fist?! 💪🏼
@8252Hazel: Great if we can get some fans in
@rhysmfc_: Waistcoat merchant coming to teesside for a Gibbo reunion?
@Chrisrhodespoke: Miles better the Southampton
@andrewMOT: You’ll definitely need to wear a mask then
@daveyballyXIIII: Brilliant news for the club and town, hopefully a few supporters can get the see the 🦁🦁🦁 before the euros kicks off
@LewisThompson7: Not sure Foden and Greenwood will be on the prowl in Boro….
@KEZZLAD: Wish we played all our friendlies at diff stadiums around the country
@Joe__Monty: Gareth’s coming home
@benoliver000: Would love to get to one of these
@MatthewBye13: We’re massive #UTB
@georgej24025969: Don’t blame Southgate for wanting to play in a beautiful stadium tbh
@johntaylor1979: I’m saying it will be a limited amount of fans not a full allocation. Hopefully I’m wrong as I’ll be going to both
@Jack_McGarry99: Yersssss announce tickets 🏴
@CaineUTB: Hopefully a few fans are able to attend
— Mark (@_mstephenson88) April 7, 2021
— Caine McCabe (@CaineUTB) April 7, 2021
— Charlie Schumm (@charlieschumm) April 7, 2021