Carsley makes MK visit
New England men's under-21 head coach Lee Carsley is looking to bring the Three Lions' feelgood factor to Milton Keynes this September.
The next crop of Young Lions will set out on the road to the 2023 U21 EURO in Georgia and Romania at Stadium MK on Tuesday 7 September (7pm kick-off) when they host Kosovo.
Carsley was appointed to his new role last month, having previously worked with various England age groups since 2015 and will be assisted in the job by Three Lions legend Ashley Cole as his assistant coach.
It’s an exciting time to be an England fan, with Gareth Southgate’s senior squad igniting the nation with their inspirational run to the UEFA EURO 2020 final this summer.
And that buzz has naturally filtered down through the youth ranks and Carsley is hoping to build on that when he brings his charges to the home of MK Dons next month.
“If we look at the seniors in the summer and see how much of an impact that had on the whole of the nation, we're hoping that not only can we inspire the fans that come to Milton Keynes but the players on the pitch too,” said the former Everton midfielder, during a visit to Stadium MK this week.
“I think it was a brilliant summer for us and hopefully the local England fans can come and see the next crop, who eventually are going to be involved around the seniors. We’ve got some outstanding and exciting players not just within the MU21s but across the whole pathway and a lot of those will be on show on the night.
“It’s a really exciting period and I’m lucky to be a part of it. I’ve been with England teams for four years coaching various teams now and, on the football side, it’s developing fast. The seniors are really exciting, good to watch and are getting to the latter stages of tournaments so making sure that all of our other sides are moving in the same direction is what we’re all trying to do.”
This will be the second successive U21 qualifying campaign that England have been pitted against the Kosovans, an emerging football nation.
On their forthcoming opponents, Carsley added: “Kosovo are very well organised and they have a new coach (Michael Nees). I watched three or four of their games towards the end of their last campaign and also they played over the summer. They’re obviously working on a new style of play so I expect them to be motivated. It will be a tough game like a lot of the teams in our groups.”
The occasion will be the fifth time that England MU21s have played at Stadium MK with the 5-1 victory over Austria in October 2019 being the last time the Young Lions were showcased to the Buckinghamshire community.
Carsley added: “It’s great that the MU21s are able to see different parts of our country, experience different training grounds and pitches so this will be another good opportunity for the lads.
“MK Dons are used to having us here and the pitch is outstanding, I think it will suit the players.”