England to play two friendlies at Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium as Gareth Southgate's pre-Euro 2020 warm-up matches

England to play two friendlies at Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium as Gareth Southgate's pre-Euro 2020 warm-up matches

04/07/2021

GARETH SOUTHGATE is taking England to former club Middlesbrough for the final Euro 2020 tune-ups.

The Three Lions will play two friendlies at the Riverside Stadium in June ahead of the summer showpiece.

England take on Austria on Wednesday 2 June and that will be followed by a clash with Romania on Sunday 6 June.

England have usually travelled across the country in the build-up to tournaments over recent years.

But SunSport understands that Southgate and his squad will be staying at Rockcliffe Hall, owned by Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson, throughout their stint on Teesside instead.

And that will allow them to use Boro’s state-of-the-art Hurworth training ground, which is based next door to the luxury hotel and golf complex.

England last played at the Riverside back in 2003 with Southgate starring in defence for his country.

Michael Owen scored both goals to help the Sven-Goran Eriksson’s team come from behind to win 2-1 in the Euro 2004 qualifier.

Southgate still enjoys legendary status at Boro despite suffering relegation during his time in charge.

He joined the club in 2001 and captained them to their first-ever trophy in 2004 when they won the League Cup.

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Boro qualified for Europe twice during his time there, another first for the Teessiders, and they reached the Uefa Cup Final in 2006.

He replaced Steve McClaren after that game and twice guided them to a mid-table Premier League finish before suffering relegation during his third year at the helm.

Boro initially kept faith with him but axed him in October 2009 despite a victory over Derby County lifting them to third in the Championship.

England begin their Euro campaign against Croatia at Wembley on Sunday 13 June.

Scotland then travel to the national stadium for a mouthwatering showdown on Friday 18 June.

The Three Lions play their final group stage fixture against Czech Republic on Monday 21 June.

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