Football

Marcus Godinho Explains How Synthetic Pitches Played Big Part in Hearts Departure

Marcus Godinho Explains How Synthetic Pitches Played Big Part in Hearts Departure

Marcus Godinho has explained how constantly playing on synthetic surfaces played a big part in his decision to leave Hearts this summer.

The Canadian international departed Tynecastle after a three-year stay earlier this month, and has signed on at German third tier side FSV Zwickau on a two-year contract, but Godinho has revealed he could’ve stayed on for another season with the Jambos.

Craig Levein expressed how he’d be happy to keep Godinho on but the 22-year-old defender has outlined the frustration of playing and training on astroturf, with the surface playing havoc with his joints.

Speaking to the Edinburgh Evening News, Godinho said: “After Michael Smith came back from injury (in April), I spoke to Craig Levein and told him I wasn’t happy given the astro aspect of it and not getting the playing time I felt I needed to develop properly.

“We had an honest conversation, he was really good with me and he told me if I could sort something out, he wouldn’t stand in my way but if nothing came up he would be happy to have me back this season.

“I learned a lot from Mick Smith but it was tough to get a look-in when he was fit because he plays well every week.

“Even when I got an opportunity and played well, it always felt like something would get in my way. I just couldn’t get a good run.

“It was tough because even when I was doing well I couldn’t get any momentum.

“Like after the St Johnstone game (in January) when I scored and played well, it was frustrating because I couldn’t play the next game at Kilmarnock and the team won and I was out the team again. 

“Most of the time last season I was playing with a bit of swelling but the main thing was that I had to stay away from astro completely.

“The team was training on astro quite a lot in winter so I just had to go to the gym and try and stay fit that way.

“There were times I’d come in and play a game when I hadn’t trained properly for a couple of weeks. It was really tough to be sharp and physically up to speed.

“I didn’t look at staying in Scotland because the main thing for me was to get away from astro.

“The surgeon and the physios told me if I kept playing on it I’d have a really short career. Any time I was on it, even when I did a little jog, I’d feel it right away and have a reaction the next day.

“The best option was to go somewhere where I’d be playing and training on grass all year round, so I could give myself the best possible chance of being a first-choice right-back.

“Grass pitches are mandatory here [in German football] and all the training pitches are grass.

“I was a bit unsure at first when I heard a third division team were interested but I watched a few of their games online, spoke to a few guys I know in Germany and after speaking to the manager and seeing the facilities, I knew this would be a great opportunity.”

What do you think of Godinho’s comments?

And should the money men inside Scottish football’s hierarchy invest more in natural grass pitches, and perhaps better indoor surfaces for the winter months, like the successful strategy implemented in Icelandic football?

Let us know in the comments section below…

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