England's James Milner, who played at Wembley for Aston Villa on Sunday, says the national stadium's pitch is in a poor state.
Manchester United and Aston Villa players have condemned the state of the Wembley surface during the Carling Cup final, with James Milner, who will feature with England back at the national stadium tomorrow, insisting the pitch was not up to the required standard.
Players on both sides united in their disappointment at the quality of the turf in the wake of Sunday's showpiece event, from which Michael Owen had departed before the interval having damaged a hamstring. The Football Association had been confident the sand and soil composite surface would impress having relaid the pitch eight times since the £757m stadium opened in March 2007, only for north-west London to suffer a deluge in the build-up to the game that saw 120ml of rain fall on the turf last week.
"It's not [good enough]," said Milner when asked to reflect on the quality of the pitch. "It is the home of England. For us, as a team, you want the best surface possible and, hopefully, it can improve because at the moment it is not quite there. There had been a lot of rain and, maybe, it was poorer on Sunday. But, to be honest, whenever I have been there before I've never thought: 'This is a great surface.'
"It was very difficult, actually. It was slippery and was cutting up. Not good. You work as hard as you can to get to a cup final at Wembley and it was probably one of the worst pitches you will play on all season. At a final you want to play in a great stadium - which it is - and on a great pitch, but I knew what to expect as I have been there before."
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