Harry Redknapp will refrain from rolling out his standard starting XI for today’s match against Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine; but he claimed the choice has nothing to do with their fitness. It actually has everything to do with the pitch that Redknapp blasted as being unfit for a non-league match.
“I’m not blaming the pitch, but it’s just a poor pitch,” he said. “That’s what you will get out here this time of year. You wouldn’t play on a non-league pitch like that.” (The Times)
17-year-old midfielder Dean Parrett will get the nod today for a surprising start. I guess Redknapp really meant it when he said he’d be going with a youth squad to save his starting XI from the poor pitch.
Today’s starting XI is as follows: Gomes, Gunter, Huddlestone, Dawson, Chimbonda, Jenas, Zokora, Parrett, Bentley, Giovani, Campbell.
Subs: Jansson, Gilberto, Smith, Bostock, Mason, Obika, Bent.