Beckham delighted to return to Ipswich

DAVID Beckham is relishing returning to Portman Road and can vividly remember the electric atmosphere created by Ipswich Town fans when they played Manchester United, writes Derek Davis.

DAVID Beckham is relishing returning to Portman Road and can vividly remember the electric atmosphere created by Ipswich Town fans when they played Manchester United, writes Derek Davis.

And this time wife Victoria Beckham will be in the Britannia Stand to watch her husband play in Ipswich as the mega-star performs in England for the first time since joining Real Madrid.

Three years ago Fabian Wilnis scored a terrific opener for Town but Beckham beat Richard Wright with a free-kick on a night when a crowd of 20,000 made the noise of 60,000, according to the former United star and manager Sir Alex Ferguson at the time.

The England captain last night took time out to speak about his Portman Road experience to the EADT.


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He said: "It was a great atmosphere that night. I can remember the fans were really up for it and the players were too.

"It is a closed-in ground so it will generate a great atmosphere and I'm really looking forward to going back there.

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"I'm good friends with Wrighty and we spent a lot of time together when I was living in Manchester and I have mentioned how I scored against him with a free-kick that night."

Beckham told us he is a big fan of taking the nation's team around the country. He added: "I have always said it is great to travel around to different grounds because it is not always possible for England fans in different parts of the country to get to see England."

The paparazzi descended on the small, but perfectly formed, training pitches nestled among the links course of the Five Lakes golf complex as the coach travelled the 200 yards from the main hotel.

But hopes of capturing England's celebrity captain were dashed as the midfielder was rested from training after suffering a back injury playing for new club Real Madrid against Valencia on Sunday.

Also missing was Sol Campbell, while Owen Hargreaves returned to Germany with a groin injury picked up while playing for Bayern Munich at the weekend.

Injury worries over Campbell led to Birmingham centre-back Matthew Upson, a former Suffolk schoolboy, being called into the squad yesterday.

Kieron Dyer jogged alongside David James as the players warmed up wearing pale and navy blue kit while the coaches wore red and grey.

We later enjoyed a brief chat and Ipswich-born star Dyer was positively beaming at being back in East Anglia and excited at the prospect of so many of his family, friends and supporters watching him grace the Portman Road pitch in an England shirt.

Beckham is hoping to play at least a small part of Wednesday's game despite a stiff back last night. He was given the option of not attending this friendly as he has not had much of a summer break and while the Premiership players returned to full action last weekend, Real Madrid are still in pre-season training.

He said: "I felt is was important for two reasons, one I'm the England captain and two I really enjoy being with this group of players.

"It is important that I'm here with England whether it is a friendly or a qualifying match."

Croatia trained at the Playford Road centre last night and will tonight get a feel of the Portman Road pitch.

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