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EXCLUSIVE John Aldridge with a message to Ireland's class of 2020 as they prepare to take on England at Wembley

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The starting eleven before the World Cup opener against England in Cagliari on June 11, 1990. Back (from left): Chris Morris, Steve Staunton, Tony Cascarino, Packie Bonner, Mick McCarthy (capt.), Paul McGrath. Front (from left): John Aldridge, Kevin Sheedy, Ray Houghton, Andy Townsend, Kevin Moran

The starting eleven before the World Cup opener against England in Cagliari on June 11, 1990. Back (from left): Chris Morris, Steve Staunton, Tony Cascarino, Packie Bonner, Mick McCarthy (capt.), Paul McGrath. Front (from left): John Aldridge, Kevin Sheedy, Ray Houghton, Andy Townsend, Kevin Moran

The starting eleven before the World Cup opener against England in Cagliari on June 11, 1990. Back (from left): Chris Morris, Steve Staunton, Tony Cascarino, Packie Bonner, Mick McCarthy (capt.), Paul McGrath. Front (from left): John Aldridge, Kevin Sheedy, Ray Houghton, Andy Townsend, Kevin Moran

John Aldridge has urged the Republic of Ireland players to preserve a proud unbeaten record when they take to the field at Wembley to play England on Thursday night.

Stephen Kenny's side will be aiming to extend a run that has seen England fail to record a win against the Republic of Ireland since March 1985, when Gary Lineker scored the first of his 48 international goals to seal a win for the home side at Wembley.

Ireland have avoided defeat in the six matches the two sides have completed since then, with Aldridge part of the side that beat England in the famous Euro 88 game in Stuttgart.

"The unbeaten run against England stretches back to my time in the Ireland side and it would be great to see us maintain it at Wembley," Aldo tells us.

"A lot of Ireland players have worked hard to make sure we have not lost against the English and while it will be tough for this group of players, I think they have a good chance to come away with at least a draw.

"We have seen some good signs from Stephen Kenny's side in the last few matches, but scoring goals has been a problem since Robbie Keane hung up his boots and that will be the issue again in this game.

"England are a decent side at the moment. They have a few world class players in their ranks, but Ireland are a difficult side to play against and they need to be solid at the back and see if they can nick a goal or two.

"The big regret for me is that the stadium will be empty. Wembley would have been green if fans were allowed in tonight. We would have turned it into a home match, but we have to hope this is the night when Kenny's Ireland team click and score a goal or two."

BIG GAME STATS

* England and the Republic of Ireland last faced in June 2015 in a friendly at the Aviva Stadium, drawing 0-0. At Wembley, their last meeting was in May 2013 in a friendly, sharing a 1-1 draw.

* Republic of Ireland have never beaten England at Wembley, playing there six times previously without success (D3 L3).

* England are winless in seven matches against the Republic of Ireland (D5 L2), their joint-worst current winless run against an opponent, with the Three Lions also seven without a win against Romania.

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* Republic of Ireland's only away victory against England came back in September 1949, winning 2-1 at Goodison Park in a friendly with goals from Con Martin and Peter Farrell.

* England are unbeaten in their last 12 home friendly matches (W8 D4) since losing 1-2 against the Netherlands at Wembley in March 2016 under Roy Hodgson.

* England are looking to avoid losing consecutive matches for only a second time under Gareth Southgate, losing three in a row in September 2018.

* Stephen Kenny is yet to win a match as Ireland manager in five attempts (D3 L2) - the only manager to fail to win any of his first six matches as Ireland boss was Mick McCarthy back in 1996 (first seven).

* This game will be Harry Kane's 50th England cap - Kane will be the 62nd player to reach that tally, and his 32 goals are bettered only by Jimmy Greaves (43) in his first 50 England caps. He will be the first outfield player to win his first 50 caps all for the same club since John Terry won his first 50 with Chelsea, and the first player to win 50 England caps while at Tottenham, with his current 49 level with Jermain Defoe.

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