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Spurs keeper Robinson: Plastic pitch good for me

Tottenham goalkeeper Paul Robinson is confident he can handle Russia's plastic pitch on Wednesday night.

The unfamiliar feel of an artificial surface, together with potentially sub-zero temperatures inside the 85,000-capacity arena, may destabilise England in the home straight.

Robinson says: "I am going to wear some kind of leggings or tracksuit bottoms to prevent burns and grazes. They will also help me slide across the top of the astroturf rather than dive and just stop still. The only thing is the way the ball bounces. As silly as it sounds, they may water the pitch but that will bring the ball on to you and it will be better for goalkeepers.

"It's a new challenge and it's certainly going to be different. I don't think anyone in the England team has played on that kind of pitch before but we trained on one a couple of times last week and then we will train on the actual pitch on Tuesday."

Steve McClaren's squad used a similar surface at Arsenal's London Colney training centre last week but they will try out one for real today.

The pitch at the Blessed Thomas Holford Catholic School in Altrincham is the closest match McClaren could find in England and the squad will be given a thorough workout this morning before they board the flight to Moscow.

Robinson added: "The pitch must be of good quality but we won't make excuses about it. We have to go out there and deal with the surface and the situation. It will be a learning experience for all of us. We have done as much research as we possibly can."

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Tribal Football Staff

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