Cranie backing U21s at Coventry
Wednesday, 30 September, 2009
Former Under-21 defender will cheer on Pearce's men at Coventry
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When England Under-21s line-up against Macedonia at the Ricoh Arena on 9 October, one member of the crowd will know just what it's like to be in the thick of the action.
Versatile Coventry City defender Martin Cranie had been involved with Stuart Pearce's squad for over two years and played a pivotal role in the team’s progress to the European Championship Final in Sweden in June, even netting against the host nation in the semi-final.
At 23-years-old, Cranie is now too old for the Under-21s but he will always look back fondly on what proved to be an exciting summer with the Three Lions – despite Germany denying him a fairytale ending with a 4-0 defeat in the Final.
“I didn’t really get any time off, most of the summer was spent preparing for the European Championship and obviously we did well and got all the way to the Final,” said Cranie. “I don’t score many to be fair, but in the semi-final I popped up with a goal which was nice. We were a bit unlucky at the end but it was a good experience for me.”
The loss to Germany was a cruel way for the tournament and Cranie’s Under-21 career to come to an end, especially as he had experienced it all before. “It was a shame it ended that way, we had such a good tournament and obviously we wanted to win it, but on the day we just didn’t really turn up.
“This has happened all the way through my career, in the U17s we were beaten in the semi-final and in the U19s we lost in the Final, so I have never actually won it."
Yeovil-born Cranie barely had time to relax after returning from Malmo and within days of resuming pre-season training with Portsmouth he was packing his bags again after completing a move to Coventry City, hosts for next Friday's Euro 2011 Qualifier with the Macedonians.
“I had only been back for a couple of weeks but then I was up and off again. I was settled at Portsmouth but I didn’t really get the games I wanted.
“But now I’m at Coventry and I’m happy, I’ve got an apartment sorted and once I have settled down I’ll hopefully play regular football.”
But Cranie will always have a special place in his heart for international football, and says he'll be in the crowd to support his former team-mates, as well as the new recruits coming into Pearce's squad this campaign.
“I’ll definitely be going along to see how they do," he added. “It is a different style of football to club football, you see different players from different teams so you can see how football is played in different places.
“There are a lot of quality players in the squad who are playing week in, week out in the Premier League and playing with them can only have benefited me.”
Tickets for the game will go on sale through the Coventry City box office at 10am on Tuesday 1 September, priced at £10 for adults and £5 for concessions. Call 0871 220 0260 or buy online at www.seetickets.com.
To stay up to date with the Under-21s thoughout their campaign, stay logged on to TheFA.com or become a Fan of Stuart Pearce's team on Facebook