According to the Times, Newcastle’s St James’ Park is being considered to host one of two England warm-up games ahead of the Euro 2020 tournament next summer.
The Football Association announced on Tuesday that two friendlies would take place away from Wembley, one of which will be a home game, with the other in continental Europe.
It would be a major coup for Newcastle, with England not having played on the hallowed St James’ Park turf since their 2-0 win over Azerbaijan in 2005.
That night, a crowd of 49,046 turned up to see a pretty woeful first half from the Three Lions, only for England legends Steven Gerrard and David Beckham to grab a goal each in the second half to secure the win.
Talk of England making a return to Tyneside emerged in September, with the Sun reporting FA chiefs were “watching with interest” as the iconic city centre venue hosted the England rugby team, who thrashed Italy 37-0 amid a vibrant atmosphere.
The football big-wigs will also have noted that, having staged Rugby League’s showcase Magic Weekend event for four years between 2014 and 2018, before moving to Anfield this summer, it is returning to Newcastle next season – such was its success here.
And as well as hosting the England national side, Rugby Union also held its two showpiece European finals – the Heineken Challenge Cup Final and the Champions Cup Final at Newcastle.
Pickford set for return to scene of nightmare day?
If England play at Newcastle, it will be a return to the scene of his biggest disaster, for former Sunderland keeper Jordan Pickford, who reacted to the torrent of boos from Toon fans in his last visit, only to concede three second half goals as Newcastle won 3-2 against Everton.
Jordan Henderson could also experience cheers, not jeers, from a St James’ Park crowd, for probably the first time ever, as he is another player usually singled out by the Newcastle faithful.
Whether playing at Newcastle’s home ground could tempt Gareth Southgate into selecting Isaac Hayden or Sean Longstaff for the squad is debatable, but Hayden in particular, must be knocking on the door of a call-up, and it would be the perfect opportunity to do so.
It has not yet been confirmed, of course, with Manchester’s Old Trafford and Etihad Stadium also in contention, but it would be nice to give north east fans an opportunity rarely afforded to them, and watch an England international in their backyard.