December 10 2013 Latest news:
Friday, October 12, 2012
Stuart Pearce has admitted that Carrow Road was always top of his wanted list as the venue for England Under-21s’ Euro 2013 play-off match.
Norwich City play host to Pearce’s Young Lions when they take on Serbia tomorrow (6pm) in the first of two legs that will decide who goes through to the European Championship finals in Israel next June.
And, after winning their last play-off in Norwich two years ago, Pearce says he wanted to get back to Norfolk where the fans and club were so welcoming.
England beat Romania 2-1 last time at Carrow Road, in October 2010, helping secure a place at the 2011 Euros in Denmark. Prior to that, a side led by Pearce also enjoyed a 5-0 win over Slovakia as they prepared for the 2007 finals. Pearce said coming back to the home of the Canaries was always in his thoughts.
“It’s a passionate area for football, they love their team and they also love England, so always give us great support at Carrow Road,” he said.
“In return, we have given them two victories to cheer in recent years. A win against Romania in the play-off two years ago, and a 5-0 victory against Slovakia before we headed out to the finals in Holland. We hope that successful run continues.
“This play-off has been pencilled in for Norwich for a long while, simply because of how we have always been welcomed by the club and the fans in this neck of the woods. This is somewhere the Under-21s have always enjoyed playing and I’m delighted we’re going back.”
Pearce told TheFA.com he recalled his own days as a player coming to Carrow Road with Coventry, Nottingham Forest and Manchester City.
“Norwich City always had a good football ethic and an exceptional playing surface,” he said. “It was a pretty passionate place to come and play, but never hostile. The fans come to support their team and make a great atmosphere. I always enjoyed playing there, and always enjoyed bringing the U21s to Norwich too.”
England Under-21s successfully negotiated their Euro 2013 qualifying group as winners. After tomorrow’s first leg, the return match is on Tuesday in Krusevac.
Pearce took the squad to a speedway meeting at King’s Lynn last night, which the former Manchester City manager feels will help them bond ahead of the crucial play-off tie.
He said: “We try and get the team out when we meet up and this is a great opportunity for us before our game at Norwich. I remember taking the Manchester City team to the speedway at Belle Vue when I was there. It’s something different for the boys and it’s great for them to see sportsmen of their own age riding these bikes, seeing the motorcycles in the pits and meeting the riders has been really interesting for us.”
Tickets for tomorrow’s game are £10 for adults, and £5 for under-18s, over-65s, and students. A family ticket is available at £20 (two adults, two under-18s). They are available by calling 0844 826 1902, or online, or from ticket office at Carrow Road or the Canary Stores at Chapelfield or The Mall.