Premier League clubs are worried about stars picking up injuries playing on a plastic surface in Andorra labelled the ‘worst pitch’ by Gareth Bale – handing Gareth Southgate selection headache before World Cup qualifier
- England face Andorra on Saturday on a plastic pitch which has raised concern
- A number of Premier League clubs are worried about players picking up injuries
- Synthetic pitches are notorious for being more stressful on footballers’ joints
- Gareth Bale described the field as the ‘worst pitch’ he’d ever played on in 2014
Premier League clubs are worried about their England stars playing on Andorra’s plastic pitch, leaving Gareth Southgate with a selection headache for Saturday’s clash.
Sportsmail has learned that a number of top-flight teams are anxious about the artificial surface at Andorra’s 3,300-capacity Estadi Nacional, feeling that it poses an injury risk.
Synthetic pitches are notorious for being more stressful on footballers’ joints, with experts believing the surface leaves players more vulnerable.
Premier League clubs are worried about the Andorra pitch England stars will use on Saturday
Gareth Southgate also has a selection headache ahead of England’s clash in Andorra
Southgate is likely to prioritise Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier against Hungary at Wembley and could field a weaker team in Andorra. One of Southgate’s key decisions will be whether to start skipper Harry Kane against Andorra.
The Tottenham striker has a history of ankle problems, raising concerns about his involvement — though it is understood Kane, who has yet to score in the Premier League this season, is ready to play as he tries to chase down Wayne Rooney’s all-time England goals record.
Everton manager Rafa Benitez has called on Southgate to rest Jordan Pickford against Andorra, given the No 1 goalkeeper has just recovered from a shoulder injury, describing the qualifier in Andorra as a ‘nothing’ game.
Gareth Bale described the Estadio Nacional as the ‘worst pitch’ he’d ever played on (pictured)
Southgate is likely to prioritise next week’s Hungary tie, and may rest Harry Kane this week
Mason Mount, Phil Foden and Ollie Watkins have all recently returned from injury or have fitness concerns heading into the international games.
In 2014, Gareth Bale described the Estadi Nacional surface as the worst he had ever played on after Wales visited. Team-mate Aaron Ramsey said he hoped he would never play on an artificial surface again after rolling an ankle in the same game.
England arrive in Andorra on Thursday and will have the opportunity to train on the pitch on Friday.
Kalvin Phillips joined Reece James in withdrawing from the squad on Tuesday and was replaced by James Ward-Prowse. Declan Rice, Luke Shaw, Bukayo Saka and Watkins missed training on Tuesday but are expected to join in on Wednesday.