England has lined up a Wembley friendly against Nigeria as part of their World Cup preparations.
The Super Eagles will be one of two opponents for England, the other likely to be against Latin American opposition, before they depart for Russia.
The Football Association wanted England to face African opposition ahead of their World Cup opener against Tunisia in Volgograd on 18 June.
They considered facing Ghana or Senegal, who they could face in the last-16 depending on their standings in the groups. But England has chosen Nigeria, with the popular following the Nigerian national team thought to have been a factor behind the decision.
England will make the announcement official once their second June friendly has been confirmed.
After playing the two friendlies, Gareth Southgate and his squad will fly to Russia and to their training base in Repino, a town just north of St Petersburg, towards the Finnish border.
Then they will head to Volgograd to face Tunisia, Nizhny Novgorod for Panama and Kaliningrad to play Belgium on 28 June.
Eagles will also play Egypt and two other countries in preparations ahead of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The friendly matches will be played between January and May next year, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has said.
The Secretary General of the Nigerian Football Federation, NFF, Muhammed Sanusi, revealed this while speaking on the sidelines of NFF’s 2018 budget defence with the House of Representatives Committee on Sports.
He said, although no final decision has been reached, the three friendly matches would be played in Abuja before the World Cup to be hosted by Russia in June.
He said, “We’re looking at three countries. We want to play in Abuja. We haven’t finalized, but Egypt is one of them.”
On inviting additional players to join the Eagles, Sanusi said, “We always allow the coach to do that. We don’t have a hand in the selection of players. It’s up to the coach to bring in the players he wants to bring.”