Spell at Norwich City was amazing – Bertrand
Ryan Bertrand is looking forward to renewing acquaintances behind the scenes at Carrow Road this week.
The left-back made 60 appearances in a season and a half on loan at Norwich from Chelsea, before returning to Stamford Bridge at the end of City's relegation season, in May, 2009.
And while many faces from those days have gone, Bertrand – now on loan to City's Championship rivals Nottingham Forest – is hoping to see some old friends this week as he prepares for the England Under-21s match against Romania on Friday.
'It will be good to see a few familiar faces,' said Bertrand. 'On the pitch there's been a number of changes, but around the club there'll be people there I know pottering around, so I'm looking forward to it.
'I had a brilliant time there, and although it ended in disappointment when we were relegated from the Championship, it was all part of my learning experience.
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'But overall it was a fantastic period at Carrow Road. When you are going out in front of 25,000 in the Championship, especially as a young player, it was amazing.
'It was a long way from home so I stayed up in Norwich and it was a nice place to live and allowed me to really concentrate on my football. They have a very passionate support, and have enjoyed some successful times down the years, like Nottingham Forest, and get behind the team whether they are winning or losing.
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'During my first season there we'd been down the bottom of the league for most of the time, but got a good run together and managed to avoid relegation in the last home game of the season by beating QPR. That was a good moment for us.'
Should England beat Romania over two legs they will be heading to Denmark for next year's European Championship finals.
'We know they will be a very strong team, they've won their group for a reason,' said Bertrand.
'We also have that reputation of being one of the nations to beat, so when teams play against us they treat it like a cup final.
'We have to be willing to give it our all as we want to go to the finals next summer. That's what everyone wants. It doesn't come much bigger for a footballer, playing in a major international tournament, so we have to stake our claim for a spot in Denmark.'