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European Qualifiers Group E

Rooney unfazed by pitch fears

England striker Wayne Rooney says his team-mates are not overly concerned about the state of the pitch in Manaus, where England face Italy on Saturday.

Last Updated: 12/06/14 at 11:10 Post Comment

Arena Amazonia: Pitch appears to be in poor condition

Arena Amazonia: Pitch appears to be in poor condition

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Fears over the condition of the pitch have intensified in recent days after pictures of the playing surface showed patches of dry grass and yellow marks stretched across the pitch.

England are due to land in Manaus on Thursday morning and the Football Association has confirmed that a member of England’s backroom staff will be sent to the stadium to see how it looks.

When asked how the state of the pitch might affect the game, Rooney said: “We’re not sure, but I think at the end of the day it’s the same for ourselves and Italy so we’ll both have to deal with that.”

FIFA sources say the problems have been caused by "excessive use of fertiliser" but that there was no threat to the match taking place.

World Cup organisers are sending an expert to oversee intensive treatment to the pitch between Thursday and Saturday, but believe the problems are "largely cosmetic" with the worst area confined to one corner of the pitch.

England will train at their hotel in Manaus on Thursday before taking part in another session on the Arena Amazonia pitch on Friday, 24 hours before the Italy game.

The surface was in pristine condition when manager Roy Hodgson visited the city in February, prior to a FIFA workshop.

The Arena Amazonia, which holds 39,118 people, was constructed last year at an estimated cost of around £173m.

England's charter jet to the north-western city of Manaus will take four hours from Rio. Unlike England, Italy will travel to Manaus one day before kick-off.

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