22:00 Monday 02 December 2013

Pride Park to host England Under-21 clash against Wales next year

Written bySTEVE NICHOLSON

DERBY County are to stage England’s under-21 international against Wales in March.

The European Championship qualifier will take place at the iPro Stadium on March 5, kick off 6pm.

It will be the sixth time the Rams have hosted an England under-21 game and past games have attracted big crowds.

Pride Park staged its first under-21 international in February 1999 when 32,865 watched England beat France 2-1.

European Championship qualifiers against Germany in 2000 and Holland in 2001 attracted attendances of 30,000-plus, and there was 32,418 at the friendly with Holland in 2005.

The most recent under-21 game in Derby was in February 2007. England drew with Spain in front of 28,295.

Rams chief executive Sam Rush is delighted to see England return after a gap of seven years.

“When I arrived at Derby in January one of our main objectives was to bring an England Under 21 international match back. We have proved in the past we can successfully stage these type of occasions,” he said.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for our fans to see some of the top English talent and with the game being against Wales as well, there’s a bit of added spice.

“We have an impressive attendance record for England Under 21 matches and we’re determined to maintain it.”

Derby fans could see Will Hughes (pictured) in action for England as well as on-loan defenders Andre Wisdom (Liverpool) and Michael Keane (Manchester United). The three players are currently part of the England Under 21 squad.

Hughes scored in England’s recent 9-0 victory over San Marino. The result saw them move three points clear at the top of their qualifying group with a record of five wins and a draw from six matches.

Moldova are in second place and Wales third.

Rams full back Kieron Freeman, who is on loan at Notts County, is part of the Welsh under-21 squad that is managed by ex-Rams player Geraint Williams.

Tickets for the game will go on sale today (Tuesday) priced at just £10 for adults and £5 for under 18s.

Group bookings for local schools and sports teams, for 12 people or more, are also available.

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