Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 28 August 2014

Blackpool’s Wembley pitch World Cup warning

England's World Cup stars could potentially miss the tournament through injury because of the Wembley pitch, according to one of Blackpool's victorious Football League play-off team who had to come off with a badly twisted ankle on Saturday

The Blackpool midfielder Gary Taylor-Fletcher, who left Wembley on crutches because of an injury when his studs were caught in the turf, said that Fabio Capello's players could be at risk in their send-off for the World Cup against Mexico tonight.

Taylor-Fletcher, who said that he twice twisted his ankle because of the unpredictable playing surface, said: “The England players have got to be careful — there is a big World Cup coming up for them all. One slip and it could all be over for them.”

His words came just after Rio Ferdinand became the first senior England player to speak out against the state of the Wembley pitch and ask the Football Association to explore the possibility of using the surface exclusively for football. The FA to stage other events at Wembley in order to finance the debts they have on the £757m stadium.

Ferdinand said that Wembley “should just be a football stadium”. The England captain said: “That's what it was built as. I believe that, if there are things going on there that make it a bad pitch to play on, that hinders the spectacle that is the football match — FA Cup final, play-offs — maybe a decision needs to be made in that sense.

“But I think 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.”

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