THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

24 May ~ With the talk of England's friendly against Mexico tonight concentrated firmly on the state of the pitch, it raises the question of whether the game could have gone ahead at an alternative location. Old Trafford has proved in the past to be a more than suitable host for international fixtures, or just a few miles down the road from Wembley is possibly the best playing surface in the country at the Emirates Stadium.

The risk of serious injury to one of England's key players just weeks before the World Cup kicks off is a worrying and realistic prospect, and the last thing Fabio Capello will want to be worrying about this evening is who can replace Wayne Rooney after an injury caused by the turf ends his chances of featuring in South Africa.

The England players have received a warning in today's newspapers from Blackpool's Gary Taylor-Fletcher, who blamed the pitch for the ankle injury he sustained in Saturday's victory over Cardiff, forcing him to be substituted and supported by a pair of crutches throughout his side's celebrations after the final whistle.

With Capello set to name his 23-man squad in the coming weeks, the fixture presents a dilemma for the players who feature this evening. On the one hand, they will be eager to impress to guarantee their place on the plane, but at the back of their minds they will be desperate not to join David Beckham on the sidelines this summer.

There's certainly no calling into question the game itself, with friendlies an important part of the squad's preparations in the lead up the World Cup, but it does appear to be a dangerous move to play the game on a poor pitch with numerous other options at hand. Ryan Forrester

Comments (2)
Comment by Lincoln 2010-05-24 14:45:50

I remember the days football was played on grass and mud...
Is there anything more boring than listening the media harping on about the state of the pitch? Every day a different player is rolled out to say the same thing. Okay I know the pitch is not perfect, GTF is not telling me anything 'Appy 'Arry didn't tell me when Spurs played there a few months back or even after the first NFL game there. Thankfully I am going to the game tonight so don't have to listen to good old Clive pointing out every time a player slips over or the ball bobbles a bit. Croatia and Wales managed to cope on saturday on a none bowling green surface, sure our lads can

Comment by Dalef65 2010-05-24 16:41:58

The graphic in the top left corner says it all doesnt it?
A picture is worth a thousand words and all that........!!!

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