The English Football Association is celebrating 150 years of existence and Wednesday’s international friendly against Republic of Ireland is part of the agenda.

The last time both teams clashed was 18 years ago. The last time the Irish visited the Three Lions was back in 1991. London is now preparing to host their old foes for the first time in 22 years.

Commenting on the importance of this fixture, England national team manager Roy Hodgson told the press: “These fixtures are part of The FA's 150th anniversary celebrations and some have used the word 'friendly' to describe these matches. However, in my book there is no such thing.

“These are crucial preparation matches for the qualification games.”

More importantly, Hodgson singled out the eternal rivalry between England and the Republic of Ireland. He issued a plea to the home crowd at Wembley come Wednesday.

The Mirror quoted the ex-Liverpool boss as saying: “In my time as England manager the support this team has received at home and abroad has been nothing short of fantastic.”

He added: “I hope everyone who follows England understands that position has been built by many fans over a long period of time and sadly it can be undone very quickly by a minority.

“As much as we all want to win, respect for the game and for our opponents is paramount. This game is no different and I strongly urge everyone in the ground to show each other respect and not to chant songs that could be regarded as insulting to others – particularly from a religious or political perspective.”

The England coach also addressed himself to the traveling supporters by declaring: “I hope the fans, and the Irish fans, show the level of respect that we would expect for a game of this type."


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