Joe quick to settle into top company

Norwich keeper Joe Lewis admitted yesterday he already feels at home among the country's elite young talent ahead of England's UEFA U21 European Championship double header.


Norwich keeper Joe Lewis admitted yesterday he already feels at home among the country's elite young talent ahead of England's UEFA U21 European Championship double header.

Lewis' sterling displays on loan at League Two new boys Morecambe earned a first call up to Stuart Pearce's squad for tomorrow's qualifier in Montenegro and next's week's trip to Bulgaria.

Man City's Joe Hart and Tottenham's Ben Alnwick are in pole position to succeed Liverpool's highly rated Scott Carson but Lewis is determined to grab his chance.

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“It's been good,” he said, before flying out to the Balkans. “We've had three training sessions so far and I feel I've settled nicely into the squad. The training methods aren't hugely different from my day-to-day routine, but I think that's made it easier to settle in. There are a few who I know from being involved in other England squads - people like Mark Noble from West Ham and Fabrice Muamba from Birmingham - and there's three or four others too, so that's been a help.

“It's been a good experience so far. I've spoken to Stuart Pearce a couple of times and he has helped me settle. He's told me what his thoughts are and the fact first team football has helped me into the squad.”

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Lewis gatecrashed Pearce's plans with some impressive displays in Morecombe's giant killing Carling Cup run. Sammy McIlroy's young side has already dumped out Preston and Wolves to set up a third round tie against Sheffield United.

“The cup run has helped,” admitted Lewis. “It's put Morecambe in the spotlight a little bit and plenty of people have been watching the games. But it's been nice to be in the spotlight. I had my fingers crossed that it wasn't Norwich (in the next round), but we've got Sheffield United away, which is a chance for us to deliver another upset. We've beaten Preston away and Wolves, so there's no reason why we can't go there and give a good account of ourselves.”

Lewis is hoping to impress City boss Peter Grant on his Carrow Road return. The big stopper penned a new three year deal during the summer and Lewis is promising to turn up the heat on Scottish international first choice David Marshall.

“I speak to Jim Hollman on a regular basis and people at Colney seem pleased with the way I've been doing,” he said. “It's been nice for me and nice for the club. Hopefully when I come back I will have a chance to be involved.”

City keeping coach Holman praised Lewis' immediate impact in the north west.

“It's fantastic for him,” he said. “I always knew he had the potential to do it and it goes to show that first team football puts you right in the spotlight. It's what he's needed for a long time. For one reason or another we weren't able to send him out. I think as a club we always knew how good he was and needed him here to take his place on the bench, from the age of 15.

“So it's been put on hold for a little while, but now he's got the opportunity and the gaffer has been very proactive in making that happen. First team football is what's put him right back in there and he's done extremely well.”

Chelsea's on loan defender Michael Mancienne and Man City midfielder Michael Johnson have pulled out of Pearce's original 23-man party but the England boss will not draft in reinforcements.

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