Sixteen of our players have been selected for international duty over the next week.
There is history in the making as well for Tom Huddlestone, Ben Alwick and Wayne Routledge, our winger currently on loan at Fulham and Robbie Keane with the Republic of Ireland.
Tom, Ben and Wayne are in the England Under-21 squad preparing for the first international at the new Wembley Stadium. Tom is looking for his 15th cap at Under-21 level, keeper Ben is currently uncapped.
England take on Italy in the friendly on Saturday, kick-off 12.30pm.
Meanwhile, Robbie will lead out the Republic for the first time at Croke Park, the famous home of the GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association), their home while Lansdowne Road is redeveloped. The Republic play Wales on Saturday and Slovakia on Wednesday.
Staying on the senior stage, there are some interesting matches in store for some of the lads this week.
In the qualifying campaign for the 2008 African Nations Cup, Didier Zokora’s Ivory Coast are travelling to the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar, currently 184th in the FIFA world rankings, while Egyptian duo Mido and Hossam Ghaly will be facing Mauritania, the north-west African country ranked 122nd in the world.
Elsewhere, Paul Stalteri’s Canada travel to Bermuda and Korea, with Lee Young-Pyo in their squad, entertain Uruguay, both in friendly matches.
Other senior players called up include the England trio Paul Robinson, Jermain Defoe and Aaron Lennon, for the games in Israel and Andorra, Teemu Tainio as Finland visit Azerbaijan and Dimitar Berbatov for Bulgaria’s home game with Albania. Emil Hallfredsson is also in the Iceland squad visiting Spain. These are all Euro 2008 qualifiers.
Back to the Under-21s, Kieran McKenna travel to Romania for a friendly next Wednesday.
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