ST MARY’S will today play host to an England match for the first time since 2002.

The Three Lions are in town for their Euro 2020 qualifier against Kosovo which will be played in front of a sold-out crowd.

Not since Macedonia visited St Mary’s 17 years ago has Saints’ ground welcomed the senior England side.

That game ended in a disappointing 2-2 draw, which saw both David Beckham and Steven Gerrard get on the scoresheet.

Since that draw, St Mary’s has hosted three England Under-21 internationals, as well as an England Women’s fixture.

Gareth Southgate’s side are currently top of Group A after making it three qualification wins on the bounce with a routine 4-0 win against Bulgaria on Saturday.

Their visit to the south coast has proven to be a major coup for Saints as it’s the first time since October 2006 that a qualifier has been played away from Wembley.

The FA’s decision to try and take the England team on the road again comes after a successful World Cup in Russia last summer.

When Wembley was being rebuilt, it was commonplace for the Three Lions to play in front of different crowds around the country.

This was again trialled last year when the men’s national team played friendlies at Leeds’s Elland Road and Leicester’s King Power Stadium.

The only thing missing from today’s match from a Saints point of view is that they didn’t have any players called up by Southgate.

Nathan Redmond picked up an ankle injury against Fulham which is going to keep him sidelined for up to three weeks.

James Ward-Prowse was fit for selection but was overlooked by the England boss, despite turning up for his Nations League squad earlier this summer.

Former Saints defender Wayne Bridge proved to be the local interest back in 2002 when he started at left-back for Macedonia’s visit.

England v Kosovo will kick-off at 7.45pm, with the game being broadcast on ITV.