New England boss prepares for second Madejski bow
Gareth Southgate will made only his second managerial debut at exactly the same venue that he made his first when he takes charge of England's under-21 side at Madejski Stadium in less than two weeks time!
The ex-Middlesbrough boss was named as the new England under-21 manager when he signed a three-year contract late last week and, as most Royals fans will recall, the former centre-half started his managerial career on the opening day of the 2006-7 season as Boro took on Steve Coppell's Royals at Madejski Stadium.
That day ended in defeat for Southgate as Reading gloriously came from two goals down to earn their first ever Premier League win, but seven years later he replaces Stuart Pearce as the Three Lions' under-21 manager and returns to Madejski Stadium to take on Moldova.
The UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifier takes place on Thursday 5th September, kick off 7.45pm, at Madejski Stadium - and you can book your tickets now by calling 0844 249 1871 or online at readingfcdirect.co.uk.
The road to Czech Republic 2015 begins in Berkshire, with this the first game of the Three Lions' Euro qualifying campaign, and it will be the first return to Reading for the under-21s since 2006, when England beat Norway by 3-1 thanks to goals from David Bentley (2) and Peter Whittingham.
Tickets for the game are priced at £10 for adults, £7 for 17-21s and £5 for U16s and OAPs. You can also purchase a family ticket of two adults and two U16s for just £20.
"I'm a proud Englishman and playing for my country was the pinnacle of my playing career," said Southgate.
"Since retiring as a player I have gained a lot of knowledge and experience of the game both here and abroad, and I'm eager to play my part in preparing players to compete at the highest level.
"Whenever any team steps onto the pitch for England, being successful is of huge importance, but it is also about developing a clear style of play that can allow our talented young players to flourish."
Southgate does have Madejski Stadium success to his name as well however, guiding Middlesbrough to a 1-1 draw against the Royals in December 2007 before securing a 2-0 victory over Brendan Rodgers' men here in October 2009, courtesy of goals from Sean St Ledger and Leroy Lita.
And the new England man was at Madejski Stadium as recently as mid-May, taking part in the British Army and FA Legends game at the start of this summer.