Pearce says a big thank you to Colchester

ENGLAND Under-21s boss Stuart Pearce has thanked the Colchester public for ensuring another capacity crowd for tonight’s Euro 2013 Qualifier, against Iceland.

ENGLAND Under-21s boss Stuart Pearce has thanked the Colchester public for ensuring another capacity crowd for tonight’s Euro 2013 Qualifier, against Iceland.

The Weston Homes Community Stadium was sold out three weeks ago, which means another guaranteed crowd of 10,000 at the League One venue.

That was also the case 14 months ago, when a capacity crowd at Colchester United’s new stadium roared on England Under-21s to a 3-0 win over Lithuania, which secured a place in the Euro 2011 play-offs.

Pearce believes that a jam-packed stadium will help his side take a big step towards another successful qualification, by registering a fourth win from four qualifying games.


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“I think playing in front of a capacity crowd is vital for us,” explained Pearce during yesterday’s press conference at the Community Stadium.

“Despite the current financial climate of this country, we have a capacity at Colchester and then another full house to come at Wembley (England senior side against Spain) on Saturday.

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“It gives us a chance to have a full house behind us, and give ourselves an edge to try and win the game.”

In fact, the former England and Nottingham Forest left-back, who is now aged 49, could not speak highly enough of the warm welcome given to him, and his young guns, by the Colchester hosts.

“We are very pleased. Colchester United have looked after us fantastically well,” enthused Pearce.

“This is the second time we have been here now, in just over a year, and both times we have had a fantastic response from the people and the football club.”

A brace from Danny Welbeck and one from Marc Albrighton secured a 3-0 win over Lithuania at the Community Stadium in September, 2010.

England won the ensuing two-legged play-off against Romania, but bowed out of the European Championships at the group stage in Denmark.

For this latest qualifying campaign, England Under-21s have already beaten Azerbaijan (6-0), Iceland (3-0) and Norway (2-1), the last two away from home.

Injury has ruled out former Ipswich Town striker Connor Wickham. The Sunderland front-man suffered knee ligament damage after just four minutes of the Wearsiders’ 1-0 defeat at Manchester United last weekend.

Earlier this week, Pearce called up Newcastle United striker Sammy Ameobi and Manchester United attacker Will Keane to his squad, to join fellow strikers Nathan Delfouneso (Aston Villa) and Marvin Sordell (Watford).

Tonight’s game kicks off at 7.30pm.

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