England under-21 coach Gareth Southgate cannot wait to take on Switzerland at the Amex on Monday 16th November, and is mightily impressed by the overall set-up at Brighton & Hove Albion.
The Three Lions return to the stadium following their 4-0 win over Austria in March 2013 and Southgate admits he could not wish for a better venue to host his side’s crucial Euro 2017 qualifier.
He said, “It’s a brilliant stadium here; I came here a few years ago to see our under-19s play and it was virtually a full house.
“It was a fantastic night and the stadium was very well run. I know the away fans that come here like the fact that the away beer has been served and there are plenty of those nice touches.
“Everything has been thought through and it’s a very exciting time to be involved at Brighton.”
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The former England international defender says there are a number of familiar faces at the club and is relishing the prospect of using Albion’s state-of-the-art training ground - the American Express Elite Football Performance Centre.
“I know quite a few people at the club anyway through Chris [Hughton], Colin [Calderwood] and Nathan [Jones], who worked with us in the summer.
“We know a lot of people involved in the academy as well and Paul Barber from his time at the FA. The club is really geared up to be successful with a fantastic stadium and you could not want any more from seeing the training ground. It’s great to see the club doing as well as they are at the moment.
“We will come back from Sarajevo and use the facilities at Lancing for all our training sessions. Everybody at the training ground has been incredibly helpful and we’re really looking forward to coming.
“There’s everything here that we could possibly want, so it’s perfect preparation for us.”
Southgate has been impressed by the progress which Albion trio Christian Walton, Jake Forster-Caskey and Solly March have made in recent years and highlighted the potential of all three players.
“Jake has been with us for a couple of years now and has almost experienced all of the age groups with England. He’s been a reliable player and I know he is very proud to be involved with us.
“Solly came with us to Toulon two summers ago and gave a good account of himself. He missed most of last season through injury, but we’ve monitored his progress and he’s a good technical player.
“It’s great to see him in the team at Brighton and in games that matter. You’re near the top of the table and every game is important, so that’s good experience for him.
“Christian has had a little spell out injured, but it’s been good to get to work with him last month and find out a little bit more about him. He has a little less experience, but for all of them, it’s good to come and train with us and hopefully they will learn something different in the international set-up.
“The requirements of it are not better or worse than at club level, just a bit different.”
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