England Under-21s manager Gareth Southgate praised MK Dons and the Milton Keynes community after his side’s 3-0 win over Finland on Thursday night.
. The win, which came courtesy of a header from Michael Keane and a brace from Saido Berahino, saw England side move three points clear at the top of Group 1 heading into their final game of 2013.mkstadiumThe Young Lions roared to a comfortable victory over UEFA Under-21 European Championship rivals Finland in front of 19,807 supporters at
And Southgate, whose side now travel to Shrewsbury Town’s Greenhous Meadow to take on San Marino, thanked the people of Milton Keynes for turning out in their thousands as well as the Club for hosting the event.
Speaking to MK Dons Player, Southgate said: “MK Dons is a club I’ve got a great deal of time for, from the owner right the way through. I’ve been fortunate to have had long chats with the manager and the guys who run the youth development and I know what a well run Football Club this is.
“It was great the way the whole club embraced hosting us here. That’s one of the reasons why we wanted to put on a performance that would have got the crowd even more excited but hopefully they saw flashes of what we’re capable of and it’ll be great to come back.
“(The crowd) gave the players a lift seeing that so many people are prepared to come and watch. I don’t think there would have been another Under-21s game around Europe with a crowd like that so I think that speaks volumes for the potential of a Club like Milton Keynes when there is the opportunity, when things progress, to fill this stadium.”
Last night wasn’t the first time Southgate had visited stadiummk, having worked closely with Director of Youth Mike Dove and former Assistant Academy Manager Dan Micciche during his previous role with the FA.
Micciche, of course, is now working with Southgate at the Football Association and the England Under-21s boss offered an update on how the former Dons man was settling in.
“He’s settling in well” he added. “He’s somebody who I was a big admirer of during my time with the FA previously. I was a big admirer of the way MK Dons’ junior teams played and him and Mike Dove have done an outstanding job here.
“We’re delighted to have him with us now. It was an important appointment for young English players’ development and I know he’s very proud to have represented both this Club and now the FA.”