England v Italy: Roy Hodgson and Steven Gerrard say they have no concerns over Manaus pitch
Both manager and captain claim to be satisfied with the surface
Roy Hodgson and Steven Gerrard said yesterday that the pitch at the Amazonia Arena where they play Italy tonight was not a concern for them – although the surface looks as if it has been dyed green to hide the brown patches visible on Thursday.
The media were invited to watch 15 minutes of England’s training session and the pitch looked markedly darker in colour than it had done the previous day. The brown lines that ran across the penalty areas previously had been replaced by much darker green colouring.
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Gerrard said that he had no concerns about the pitch and was satisfied it would be playable having looked at it. He said: “With experience I've learned to wait to judge it for myself. It's easy to read things or go on other people's opinions and believe the wrong things. It's totally fine. The grass is the perfect length. The sun's off the pitch at 4.30 and we don't kick off at 6pm. It'll be zippy. Perfect.”
Hodgson said: I've just been on it. We think it's fine. It's very flat. I don't see any reason for any concern. We'll be happy to play on that pitch. It'll play well and will suit both teams. The grass is short, the pitch is flat, and we should be able to play good football on it.”
The England manager confirmed that Danny Welbeck will be fit to start the game, if, as expected to be, he is selected. He said: “We're not concerned about the heat. We'll take the conditions that come our way. We've prepared for them and aren't making contingency plans. We'll play the game we want to play. We'll keep a close eye on the players. If any of them are flagging late on, we'll change them. We have players who can come on and change the game. We are physically fit, mentally fit and tactically prepared. That's the most we can ever hope for.”
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