PNE’s delight at Under-21s fixture

England Under-19s line-up before playing Slovenia at Deepdale in 2012

England Under-19s line-up before playing Slovenia at Deepdale in 2012

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Preston North End are delighted to have been chosen to host the England Under-21s’ first game of the season.

Gareth Southgate brings his young Lions to Deepdale on September 3 to take on the United States Under-23s.

PNE season ticket holders get half-price admission and children attending the North End soccer school during the summer holidays will get free tickets.

Ben Rhodes, the club’s general manager, told the Evening Post: “We got a phone call from the FA asking if we would interested in hosting the game and obviously we were delighted to accept the offer.

“It is a high-profile fixture and an important one for both England and the USA.

“The USA Under-23s is their Olympic side and they are using this as part of their preparations for Rio next year.

“It should be a fantastic night and I’m sure it will capture the imagination of Preston fans – it is during an international break, so we don’t have a game around then. The FA have put in some fantastic offers.

“Our season ticket holders will get in for just £5 and any youngsters who attend our community soccer school during the summer holidays will be entitled to a free ticket.

“It is the first time we have had an England international game here since 2012 when the Under-19s played two games.

“Will Keane, Harry Kane and Sam Johnstone played in those matches.

“This is the next generation of England players and hopefully they can progress to the full international stage.”

In May 2012, England Under-19s played Slovenia and Switzerland at Deepdale.

They beat Slovenia 5-0, PNE loanee Keane netting twice while Nathaniel Chalobah, Todd Kane and Tom Thorpe were also on target.

In the second half against the Swiss, Keane suffered a serious knee injury which kept him out of the game for a year. His replacement, Sadio Berahino, scored the game’s only goal in the 94th minute.

Others to feature in those two games included Michael Keane, Ross Barkley, Eric Dier and Benik Afobe.

September’s game will be England’s warm-up ahead of the start of their European Championship qualifying campaign against Norway four days later.

Under-21s coach Southgate said: “It will be a good test for us as this will be a USA team which is a little bit older and wiser and who will be making up their Olympic team for Rio.

“They’ve got a really good programme now and we’re trying to play teams from outside of Europe throughout our age groups, so we’re expecting a hard game and one which will help us prepare for the trip to Norway.”

Tickets are £10 for adults, £5 for concessions (under-18s, over-65s and students), while a family ticket of two adults and two children is £20.

PNE season ticket holders can buy at half price.