FA CHIEFS have put Harry Styles before Harry Kane – and moved an England game to Old Trafford for the first time in 16 years.
England’s match schedule for 2023 has now been released following last month’s Euro 2024 qualifying draw.
England will face North Macedonia at Old Trafford
Styles will play Wembley Stadium in June next year
It features a special friendly with Scotland at Hampden in September, to mark the 150th anniversary of the world’s first international match.
But while three of England’s four home qualifiers will be played at Wembley, June’s fixture against North Macedonia will be played at the home of Manchester United.
That is because the June 16th date clashes with the fifth day of Harry Styles’ six-concert stop under the Arch for his new sell-out “Love on Tour” production.
Despite the venue change, Gareth Southgate will be hoping to keep his Three Lions on One Direction towards Germany in a group that starts with their most difficult game, away to defending champions Italy on March 23.
Three days later, Wembley plays host for England’s meeting with Ukraine, followed by a trip to Malta on June 16 and the North Macedonia game on June 19.
That will be the 18th time England have played at Old Trafford but the first since Wembley was rebuilt and the 1-0 friendly defeat by Spain under Steve McClaren in 2007.
Earlier that season, the Macedonians had claimed a goalless draw at the same venue, a few days before England’s Euro 2008 hopes began to unravel in Croatia.
The match will be the last England game of this term, with the next campaign opening with the away game against Ukraine – which is likely to be played in Poland – on September 9.
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With England being in one of the five-team groups, it means space in the calendar for the September 12 trip to Glasgow.
That will mark 150 seasons since the first clash with the Scots – also the first international match in the history of the game – which was a goalless draw at Hamilton Crescent in Partick on November 30 1872.
Southgate said: “Any meeting with Scotland is always special.
“I imagine though that this occasion will be even more memorable as it celebrates such a landmark moment.
“Of course, ourselves and Scotland are the oldest of rivals and passions are sure to be high at Hampden but this milestone is much bigger than our two nations as it’s also an opportunity to celebrate 150 years of international football.
“As we have been fortunate enough to experience across the last two major tournaments and hopefully again this winter, the international game has a unique power to bring people together and we should all feel honoured to have the opportunity to reflect on that.”
England also have a spare fixture date which will be filled the following month before the October 17 Wembley showdown with Italy.
And the year – and qualification process – ends with a Wembley game against Malta and trip to Skopje to face North Macedonia in November, a month before the draw for the Finals takes place in Hamburg.
England 2023 fixtures:
- Thursday March 23 Italy (away – venue TBC)
- Sunday March 26 Ukraine (Wembley)
- Friday June 16 Malta (Ta’ Qali)
- Monday June 19 North Macedonia (Old Trafford)
- Saturday September 9 Ukraine (away – venue TBC)
- Tuesday September 12 Scotland (Hampden Park)
- Saturday October 14 TBC
- Tuesday October 17 Italy (Wembley)
- Friday November 17 Malta (Wembley)
- Monday November 20 North Macedonia (Skopje)