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England scramble to arrange friendly with Australia after New Zealand pull out

England are trying to hastily arrange a game against Australia next month after New Zealand’s decision to pull out of their scheduled friendly at Wembley because of the coronavirus pandemic.

New Zealand on Wednesday announced they would not be travelling to England in November, prompting hopes among Premier League clubs that the friendly fixture would be completely ditched.

But England manager Gareth Southgate wants his team to play another triple-header next month and sees the friendly clash as being the perfect warm-up for the Nations League games against Belgium and Iceland.

With that in mind, the Football Association have opened talks with Australia over replacing their neighbours as England’s opponents and confirmation of the fixture could come by the end of the week.

New Zealand were scheduled to face Gareth Southgate’s side on November 12, but in a statement on their website chief executive officer Andrew Pragnell said: ‘It is with deep regret that we have been forced to cancel our participation in the upcoming match against England at Wembley.

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