England manager Gareth Southgate is not happy with the pitch in North Macedonia where his side will play their final Euro 2024 qualifier game. The Three Lions have called the pitch ‘dangerous’.
Notably, the turf at the National Arena Todor Proeski Stadium was recently relaid. England players are avoiding the warmup in certain areas of the ground. It could hurt players and the Three Lions squad is more concerned for injury. This is not the first time we have heard dangerous claims on the pitch. Two months ago, Ciro Immobile called the turf as ‘dangerous’ after playing North Macedonia in Euro 2024 qualifier.
If we go back in past, Tottenham boss (three years back) Jose Mourinho reported that UEFA had to issue an apology for small goalposts at the same stadium where his side played Shkendija, the domestic club in the country. England players are aware of the previous stories and they are taking care while doing warm-up before the game.
England manager Gareth Southgate talked in a pre-match press conference and said, “I know they’ve relaid it. I would imagine it hasn’t quite knitted, but we’ll see. That’s why you want to make sure you’re qualified well in advance. We said that right at the start of the qualifying campaign, you’re never quite sure what you’re going to get away from home.”
The 53-year-old doesn’t want to take any risk as it might harm the fitness of his key players. Gareth Southgate knows the value of this game as England have already made into the main event and it’s going to be their final Euro qualifier game. He also added, “There will be that without a pitch (issue) or not! No, we wouldn’t take any chances with players.”
The Three Lions are unbeaten in Euro qualifiers and they secured their place in Euro 2024. They were the runner-ups in the previous edition and Southgate got the support of England football despite an early exit from the World Cup last year. England will miss few key players like Jude Bellingham and Marcus Rashford due to injuries. Kieran Trippier has also returned to England due to personal reasons.