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Should England Play More Games Away From Wembley?

Should England Play More Games Away From Wembley?

England recently played two friendlies at the Riverside Stadium in Middlesbrough in what was a rare treat for supporters in the north of the country.

Although Wembley Stadium will always be the home of the Three Lions, there has long been a debate about whether the team should travel across the country to give more fans the chance to see them in action.

This is something the FA should consider, particularly with friendlies. England is lucky to have some fantastic stadiums across the country. Some families aren't able to travel to Wembley due to the distance of the travel involved. Here are three grounds that would make great hosts for the national team.

St James' Park

England has the home advantage at the European Championship if they reach the semi-finals. They are the 9/2 favourites in the Euro 2021 odds as that home support may be enough to lift them to their first major tournament win since 1966. One of the grounds where they would get equally strong support is at St James' Park in Newcastle. Geordies are very loyal supporters who get right behind their team. The stadium is magnificent and holds just over 50,000 people. The Premier League ground is used to holding major events, so they are well equipped to host international matches.

Newcastle has provided England with some fantastic players over the years, none more so than Premier League Hall of Fame inductee Alan Shearer. Hosting the national team would be a real boost to the city.

St Andrew's

Birmingham is England's second-largest city so it would have strong claims if other destinations were under consideration for the national team. St Andrew's, the home of Birmingham City, would be a great venue for Gareth Southgate's side.

The Blues are currently in the second tier of English football, however, their stadium is very much a Premier League ground. Given the central location of the city in England, it would open the door for a large number of people to have the chance to watch the Three Lions. St Andrew's has hosted FA Cup semi-final matches and England games at levels below the senior team. With a capacity of 29,409, it is a long way off the biggest sized ground in the country, however, that should not rule it out from matches.

Old Trafford

Who can forget David Beckham's 93rd-minute free kick against Greece at Old Trafford prior to the 2002 World Cup? The home of Manchester United is one of the famous football stadiums in the world.

Given the success of the two big clubs in the city, football is part of the culture in Manchester. Old Trafford has been a popular choice of the FA when matches have been played away from Wembley and it is likely to be used again in the future. For now, the focus will be on the European Championship. Hopefully, England can claim the trophy and take it on the road to show to the fans later in 2021.

Hopefully, we will get to see more great moments at Old Trafford like Beckham's free-kick post-Euro 2020. Many of the north-based players will appreciate the chance to play at the ground, as will the supporters of many Greater Manchester clubs.

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