Loach: Nowhere better for us to be than Carrow Road
England Under-21 goalkeeper Scott Loach revealed Carrow Road holds a place in his heart ahead of Friday’s game against Romania.
The Hornets’ highly rated stopper is a key member of Stuart Pearce’s Young Lions bidding to clinch a place at next summer’s finals in Denmark.
Loach has happy memories of his last trip to Norfolk after featuring in Watford’s 3-2 opening night Championship win.
“I made my 50th league appearance and my 100th league appearance at Norwich, so it is a special ground for me,” he said.
“It is definitely one of my favourite grounds in the league.
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“It’s nice and compact and when it is packed they make a lot of noise. They have great fans and I don’t think England could have picked a better ground for this game – especially in the Championship – so I am delighted it is at Carrow Road.
“It will be a great experience and one I haven’t had before. I’ve got 12 caps at this level but you can’t play for the England Under-21s forever and these could be my last two games if things went the wrong way – and I don’t want that.
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“Playing at home first is always tough because we don’t want to concede but we will look to go to Romania with the pressure off.
“The main thing is you have 180 minutes, even more if you take into account extra-time and penalties.
“They won’t be any pushovers and they are a good side who won their group.”
Loach has already caught Fabio Capello’s eye after his surprise senior call ups for the August friendly against Hungary and last month’s qualifying double header.
“I was lucky enough to go along for a day or two in August and be on the bench for the Hungary friendly, and to be called up again for a qualifier and see what goes on was amazing,” he said.
“Unfortunately it meant missing a couple of Under-21 games but the seniors is where I want to be and it was good to train with them and realise what I have to do and what I have to learn.
“Hopefully they will look to bring me through and I can keep pushing, and if an opportunity pops up I have to try and make sure my name is mentioned.
“You look at the likes of Joe (Hart) who has gone on from the Under-21s and James Milner, Adam Johnson. Players like that have grabbed it with both hands so this is a great chance for all the lads in the squad. They’ve done it, why can’t we? And the way I look at it is there’s no reason I can’t do the same as Joe.”
Watford chief Malky Mackay has already tipped Loach for the top and the 22-year-old admits the former Norwich legend is inspirational at Vicarage Road.
“He’s absolutely outstanding,” said Loach. “He doesn’t mind getting involved in the banter with the squad and sometimes him and Sean Dyche are almost like one of the lads with the stories, but when it comes to that training field he gets his point across.
“All the lads respect him massively and everybody enjoys training, which is the main thing.
“To be fair, everyone expected us to go down this season. The Championship is tough and we just want to prove people wrong and, more than that, prove ourselves right. Norwich is maybe in a similar situation and they are doing very well too. The Championship has big names, but it’s not always about that.
“With our gaffer and management team they make sure we’re at it every day. When we beat Millwall 6-1 it wasn’t a case of easing off. Straight away, he told us to forget about that one.
“Whether you win or lose or draw, the next one is always the most important.”
• Tickets for Friday’s Uefa European Under-21 Championship play-off first leg tie at Carrow Road cost �10 for adults and �5 for those under-16 or over-60.
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