In Depth

Man Utd pitches torn up, will Van Gaal do same to Rooney?

Big changes at Carrington training ground as new United boss picks a captain

New Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal has ordered staff at the club's Carrington training base to tear up two grass practice pitches and replace them with the hybrid 'Desso' playing surface used at Old Trafford.

When they are installed the new hybrid pitches will perfectly match the one on which United play their home games after a new pitch has been installed at Old Trafford because of concerns about the quality of the playing surface there.

"While Old Trafford's previous pitch was a pure grass surface, the new surface is a fusion of grass and 20 million artificial fibres, which intertwine with the natural grass 20 centimetres beneath the surface to strengthen the playing area and make it more robust and stable," explains the Daily Telegraph.

It says they should be ready for use in six weeks, after the start of the new season, but until then United can use the other grass pitches at their training facility.

The same surface is used at Wembley and is also being installed at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff this summer. The cost of replacing the pitches at Carrington will be around £800,000 says The Times.

"With Van Gaal also ordering that trees be planted at Carrington to make the facility more sheltered from the wind, the manager has wasted little time in starting to shape the club," reports The Guardian.

And he must make another big decision ahead of his first game in charge against LA Galaxy in California on Wednesday: who will be captain.

His decision will be eagerly awaited and could have far-reaching consequences even though it may not be final. With Robin van Persie on leave and Michael Carrick injured "a decision on a permanent captain may still be some weeks away", says Mark Ogden of the Daily Telegraph.

"But if Van Gaal overlooks Wayne Rooney when he hands out the armband in the Rose Bowl dressing room, it will point towards a wholly new dynamic at Old Trafford and one which the England forward is unlikely to have anticipated when he signed his new five-year contract in February." 

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