Manchester United will play on the ‘worst pitch in Holland’ during their Europa League clash with AZ Alkmaar on Thursday night, according to Dutch football expert Marcel van der Kraan.
The Group L clash is being held at ADO Den Haag’s stadium, where the worn-out plastic pitch has already been described by Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as ‘one of the worst’ he has ever seen.
Paul Pogba has not travelled with the squad due to specialist advice about a foot injury, despite playing 90 minutes in the 1-1 draw against Arsenal, and Van der Kraan issued a warning to the Red Devils about the shocking surface.
“It’s the worst pitch we’ve got in Holland, it’s absolutely ridiculous,” he told talkSPORT.
“The ADO Den Haag players are always complaining about aches and pains when they’ve trained there or when they’ve played a match. So it’s not ideal.”
AZ were forced to move the match to The Hague, 47 miles away from their usual home, after the roof of their own stadium collapsed last month.
However, Van der Kraan hints that there is an element of choice in hosting the game on such a dreadful pitch, with renovations delayed due to the visit of the Premier League giants.
“It’s a really good pitch for hockey,” he added.
“They’re having it removed but they’re waiting until after the visit of Manchester United because it might help them out.”
Anthony Martial, Luke Shaw, Ashley Young, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Phil Jones are also absent for the trip to Holland.
Solskjaer said: “I was surprised they have chosen to play on this pitch when I looked at it.
“I am used to AstroTurf pitches from back home in Norway and it is not the best I have seen. It is one of the worst ones I have seen for a long while.
“We have all got standards back home in Norway. They are all more modern and new, and you get them changed. But it is safe. It is not the newest.
“The ‘grass’ is on the floor, on the carpet more or less. I don’t think they have pulled the grass up to get it to stand and be more bouncy.
“It seems like it has been used a lot. My knees haven’t enjoyed AstroTurf but these boys are OK.”
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Check out all the live commentaries coming up across the talkSPORT network this week
- AZ Alkmaar vs Man United (Thursday, 5:55pm) – talkSPORT 2
- Birmingham vs Middlesbrough (Friday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT 2
- Brighton vs Tottenham (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT
- Fulham vs Charlton (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT 2
- Burnley vs Everton (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2
- West Ham vs Crystal Palace (Saturday, 5:30pm) – talkSPORT
Listen to AZ Alkmaar vs Manchester United live on talkSPORT at 5.55pm this evening