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WALSALL MEMORIES FOR PEARCE

24 January 2013

England Under-21 boss looking forward to Banks's Stadium return...

ENGLAND legend, Stuart Pearce brings his Under-21 team to Banks’s Stadium on Tuesday, February 5th for the visit of Sweden (kick-off 7.30pm)..

Having staged International matches at various levels over the past two decades, this will be the first time that we have played host to the Under-21s and Pearce is looking forward to the occasion.

“I’ve been to Walsall to see the England Under-17s play, but this is the first time we’ve taken the Under-21s there,” he said. “It’s good for the club and I’m looking forward to it. Hopefully the Walsall supporters will turn out in good numbers to get behind us and enjoy a good night of International football.

“Sweden will provide us with a real test; we’ve got good connections with them and I think that they’ll bring some of their younger players as they’ll be looking to the future.”

Pearce’s over-riding memory of Banks’s Stadium comes from an FA Cup third round clash in January 2001 when he was part of the West Ham United team that won a thrilling encounter by three goals to two.

“People always remember that Di Canio goal at Old Trafford in the FA Cup from that year,” he added. “But to get there we had to overcome Walsall in the third round and they gave us a tough game.

“We had already played them twice in the League Cup earlier that season and narrowly went through by the odd goal, so we knew it would be a difficult tie for us.

“It was no surprise that we were pushed all the way. I recall there being a great atmosphere within the stadium as we came out on the right end of a five-goal thriller.”

Frank Lampard gave The Hammers an early lead before Darren Wrack leveled matters just after the half-hour mark.

Frederic Kanoute restored the advantage for Harry Redknapp’s side before the same player added another in the final ten minutes.

The Saddlers refused to let our heads drop and Brett Angell’s goal set up a grandstand finish in a game that was given extended coverage on Match of the Day that evening.

Fans can get tickets to watch England’s young stars for the terrific price of just £10 for adults, £5 for children and a family ticket (two adults and two children) is only £20.

Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased by calling 01922-651 416 or via www.saddlers.co.uk.


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