World Cup 2010 - Ferdinand calls for Wembley rethink

Eurosport - Mon, 24 May 11:03:00 2010

England captain Rio Ferdinand has called for a rethink of whether Wembley is used for events other than football as fears grow over the state of the pitch.

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England's players face Mexico on Monday evening with a warning ringing in their ears from Blackpool's Gary Taylor-Fletcher regarding their World Cup dreams.

The striker was injured during his club's victorious Championship play-off final at the weekend despite using three different pairs of boots.

And Ferdinand has joined fellow centre-half John Terry in voicing concern over the use of the stadium for concerts.

"It is a football stadium. That is what it was built as," he said. "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.

"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."

Manager Fabio Capello has said publicly he is not worried about the damage the surface could do to his players, and therefore the country's hopes of lifting the World Cup for the first time since 1966.

However the newspapers are convinced that he feels differently in private.

Taylor-Fletcher, who scored in Blackpool's 3-2 victory over Cardiff, 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.

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

"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 has happened - the studs got caught in the ground, I went over, and that was the end of it.

"It was the fault of the ground. The studs got caught. We were told they were going to water it after we had warmed up, but I kept changing studs and it didn't make a difference.

"I am another victim of the famous Wembley pitch. I went over twice on my ankle and the second time was enough to put me out.

"They have got to be careful - I just hope they get it sorted sooner rather than later."

Ferdinand said that he is confident of being fully fit for the first game of the finals in South Africa.

"All being well I'll be in tip-top condition come the first game. I'm training hard and have three weeks to get into the World Cup groove," he said.

"How can I not be refreshed? I'm used to playing 40, 50 games a season. I have not played anywhere near that amount this year, so I will be going out to the tournament in good condition."

England also have a friendly against Japan in Graz, Austria on May 30 before the final 23-man squad is selected.

Follow all the build-up to tonight's friendly on - and full match commentary from 20:00 UK time!

Jonathan Symcox / Eurosport

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