For years on end managers across the country have sent their players away to represent their country and spent the whole time of their absence praying they all return fit and well. But after a week that saw several big name players pick up injuries while playing for their country, the pressure from managers for a change in the scheduling of international games will be higher than ever.
You can see where the likes of Arsene Wenger and Harry Redknapp are coming from. Take the Arsenal manger, Theo Walcott went away to play for England in arguably the best form of his club career but after suffering an ankle injury against Swtizerland, he now faces weeks on the sideline.
Wenger also lost Robin van Persie to injury where as Redknapp will see Jermain Defoe and Michael Dawson both missing for Spurs for some considerable time. Elsewhere Roy Hodgson will be without Dirk Kuyt for some time as well.
While I can understand all their frustrations, I can’t see a way to resolve the problem. You can’t arrange them all in a block because this simply wouldn’t work, it would lead to a lack of development and a lack of opportunity for players at international level.
I also don’t see that scrapping international friendlies is the answer. This will only again create a lack of opportunities to progress. Although they are often described as pointless, they are a vital for a player’s transition in to international football.
The only option as I can see would be to schedule international games around transfer windows, thus allowing for sides to replace a player should they get injured. For example a friendly game in January not February as well as arranging the first qualifying games for late August and not early September.
I’d be interested to hear your suggestions in to how to minimise the impact of players getting injured on international duty?