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  Europe
World Cup 2010
England Captain, Ferdinand, Expresses Concern at Wembley Pitch
By Shane Clarke
London Correspondent
England Captain, Rio Ferdinand has today voiced his concern over the condition of the playing surface at Wembley ahead of the team’s friendly against Mexico tonight. The pitch at the £750million stadium has been re-laid 11 times since it opened in 2007, and has been blamed for a number of injuries to players, the latest being to Blackpool forward Gary Taylor-Fletcher, who sprained his ankle in their play-off victory against Cardiff on Saturday which gained them promotion to the Premier Division.

“The England players have got to be careful,” said Taylor-Fletcher. “There is a big World Cup coming up for them. One slip and it could be all over for them.

“I wore three pairs of boots on Saturday and in all of them I was either slipping over or getting caught in the turf.

“After about 10 minutes my studs got caught in the ground. I changed my boots to a smaller stud and was slipping everywhere in them.

“I changed again at half-time and after five minutes exactly the same thing happened – the studs got caught in the ground, I went over on it and that was the end of it.”

The pitch at England’s flagship stadium has been heavily criticised by players and managers in the three years it has been open. Like many others, Ferdinand has questioned the stadium being used for so many other events.

“It’s a football stadium,” Ferdinand said. “That’s what it was built as.”

As well as football, Wembley is also used to host Rugby League, Rugby Union and American Football matches. On top of that, it also plays host to music concerts and even motorsport events.

“If there are things going on there that make it a bad pitch to play on and hinders the spectacle of a football match, a decision needs to be made in that sense,” Ferdinand said. “Having said that, there are stadiums all around the world that are used for different things and they seem to get it right, so we need to look at it.”

With the World Cup Finals only a few weeks away potential injuries are at the forefront of everyone’s minds. An injury to one of England’s key players could spell disaster for their campaign, and some may consider tonight’s match just an added risk, especially considering the quality of playing surfaces elsewhere in the country, such as Old Trafford, home to Manchester United, which has hosted England friendlies in the past.

Fans will certainly be biting their nails tonight as they watch the match. They will be hoping for a win, but more importantly they will be hoping everyone comes out of it without injury.



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Shane Clarke serves as London Correspondent for The Seoul Times. He has been involved in humanitarian work for numerous years. He’s also a freelance management consultant. Having completed an honors degree in Law at Wolverhampton University, he then moved on to an MBA at Warwick Business School. He’s heavily involved in the fight against international parental child abduction to Japan.

 

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