Milner unhappy with pitch
James Milner has criticised the state of the Wembley pitch following Aston Villa's Carling Cup defeat.
By Mike Barton
Last Updated: 02/03/10 10:09am
James Milner has criticised the state of the Wembley pitch following Aston Villa's Carling Cup final defeat to Manchester United.
The 24-year-old, who scored a penalty in the early stages of the match on Sunday, as well as defender Carlos Cuellar, have both gone on record stating that the conditions at the national stadium were not up to scratch.
Although accepting that heavy rain was very much a possible factor, Milner stated that he felt some of the lower league surfaces he has played on in the earlier rounds of the tournament were of a higher quality.
"The Wembley pitch was very difficult to play on. It was slippy, cutting up, and hopefully it can improve because it wasn't good," he said.
"You work as hard as you can to get into a Wembley cup final and it is probably one of the worst pitches you have played on all season.
"It was worse than the couple of lower league team pitches we have played on, to be honest.
"There has been a lot of rain so maybe it was poorer on Sunday than it has been."
The midfielder, who has seen himself very much in the running for a place in Fabio Capello's England squad to go to the World Cup in South Africa, will travel to Wembley again on Wednesday with the national team for the friendly against Egypt.
However Milner feels that for a stadium with a reputation as one of the most famous grounds in world football, its pitch is not up to the standard required for international games.
"The other thing is, it is the home of England and, for us as a team, you want the best surface possible and, at the moment, it's not quite there," he added.
"When I've played there before, I've never thought, 'this is a great surface'."
Villa centre-back Cuellar echoed Milner's sentiments, and despite ground staff's best attempts to solve the problems at half-time, players continued to lose their footing.
"The pitch was very bad. People kept falling over," Cuellar told the Birmingham Mail.
"For a big final it is disappointing. You come to Wembley and expect the pitch to be very good.
"But this did not influence the result and we cannot use it as an excuse."