Banks’s lands Under-21 game


Walsall have been chosen to host England's Under-21 side for their friendly fixture against Sweden next month.

The Banks’s Stadium will be the venue for the clash between the two sides on Tuesday February 5, kick-off 7.30pm.

Stuart Pearce’s Young Lions are preparing for the European Championship in Israel this summer having qualified for the tournament in impressive style.

Saddlers fans could potentially see the likes of Jack Butland, Wilfried Zaha, Thomas Ince and Raheem Sterling in action, although England’s senior team entertain Brazil at Wembley 24 hours later and it remains to be seen which players will be made available for the first fixture of 2013.

Pearce is looking forward to his side playing at the Banks’s Stadium, and recalls his experiences as a player in 2001.

“When I was at West Ham, people will probably remember the (Paolo) Di Canio goal at Old Trafford in the FA Cup, but in the third round we had to go to Walsall,” he told

“We’d already played them home and away in the League Cup earlier that season, winning by the odd goal.

“So it was no surprise that the FA Cup tie was tight, too, with us narrowly winning 3-2.”

He added: “It’s not a ground we’ve played at with the Under-21s before, so will be a first for the club.

“Hopefully the Walsall fans can come along and get behind us and enjoy a good night of international football.”