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More Players Injured On International Duty

This weekend saw another round of international games, some important like the playoffs for the final positions at the World Cup, but all too many were unimportant games that counted for absolutely nothing t should the top players be excluded form playing in them to avoid injury?

I know that this brings up loads of potential problem like who do you classify as a top player etc. etc. but a lot of the time it is quite clear that some players are not needed and that as long as they keep their form up for their club they will play for their country.

International friendlies do have their place but that shouldn’t be just before Christmas when the fixture schedule is already tight and the next competitive international match is not until next summer. Friendlies should occur just before the competition when you know what players are fit at the time because there is a good chance there will be at least one injury that will cause a player not to make the World Cup.

Chelsea due John Terry and Frank Lampard both picked up injuries during their trip with England and Robin van Persie looks to be sidelined for 6 weeks after lasting only 10 minutes playing in a friendly for the Netherlands. These loses to Chelsea and Arsenal could put their title bids off track, which is bad enough for the supporters and club when they got injured in a game that mattered but injured in a friendly that could have been avoided makes the whole thing seem a little pointless.

The obvious answer to the problem is only to have international friendlies in the weeks before competitive games with the only other solution being a second string getting the call up in stead of the top players but ultimately these players still have clubs who need them fit to play so this only protects the big clubs and not the small ones.

I have never been a big fan of international football but I do understand the importance of it to players who want to represent their country but sometimes I feel a little more common sense needs to be adopted when arranging the  fixtures of non-competitive international matches.

Written by Mark Ferguson, a sports writer.

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  1. PhillySpur

    November 17, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    Clubs are investing tens of millions of dollars on these players. They should call the shots, not FIFA. If I was a club president or coach, I would be infuriated if one of my players got injured playing in a friendly. Robin van Persie is now out for 6 weeks, just when Aresenal are playing at top form. I don’t mind their bad luck but I would be pissed if I was one of their supporters. There are way too many meaningless international fixtures.

    • Kartik Krishnaiyer

      November 17, 2009 at 2:23 pm

      IMHO their are way too few.

      Only two more fixture dates before the World Cup? IMHO, that makes management of the big sides that qualified very tough. As far as the teams that didn’t qualify like Scotland and Wales, perhaps they need not have so many games. But for the 32 World Cup qualifiers, they need the games.

  2. Kartik Krishnaiyer

    November 17, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    I am really tired of club snobs as I call them ridiculing the international game. Part of the reason player X is so marketable for Man U or Real Madrid is because of the player’s success representing his country in the biggest sporting events on the planet, which are not the Olympics, but the World Cup, the Euros, the Copa America and the Cup of African Nations.

    We had a good discussion on this issue during a recent set piece analysts podcast. I come down with the Federations. Clubs have become bullies, particularly Bundesliga clubs who wouldn’t allow Brazilians to go represent their country in the Olympic Football Tournament which is a prestigious event for South American nations.

    FIFA must begin mandating clubs to cooperate more. High profile friendlies that simulate World Cup matches are the only way to prepare a national team for the big event itself. Why club supporters don’t get angry and say “Joe Cole always gets hurt when Chelsea plays meaningless friendlies on American soil,” but say “RVP gets hurt in a game that shouldn’t have been played.”

    It is blatant hypocrisy. If you don’t like international football, don’t watch, but please don’t destroy it for the rest of us.

  3. brn442

    November 17, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    I shudder when you say “top players” but I think you have already seen the major flaw in your argument. A player that happens to play for the likes of Forest, Ipswich, or (haha) Newcastle that gets injured on international duty will be missed just as much if not more than a player at a bigger club that has a deeper squad.

  4. Matilda

    November 17, 2009 at 11:57 am

    I completely disagree. As David said, anytime you put them that’s not in the Summer will hurt clubs, and you can’t only have them in the Summer. Everyone (I’m fairly sure you’re included in this) really enjoys the World Cup, it would be so much less enjoyable if all the teams were crap. If the teams don’t get to practice together in game format (i.e. an international friendly) then they will be crap at the World Cup. You’ve got to pay a little for something as great as a World Cup.

    Despite all that, people should just get over the dislike of international friendlies because they can be good games. There can be interesting subplots in there too, people just don’t want to take the time to do a minimal amount of research to find out what they are. People in general should get less club centric and learn to appreciate football for what it is: a bunch of guys running around a field kicking a ball. You can’t claim to love a sport and then just want to watch one team, true love for football is wanting to watch quality football without caring who is on the pitch.

    So I wish everyone would stop moaning about international breaks when they are absolutely vital to grinding out great tournaments as South Africa 2010 will (hopefully) be. Please think these things through before you smash them down. This was just shortsighted.

  5. AtlantaPompey

    November 17, 2009 at 11:52 am

    There is no good time to have an international break. Even playing during the summer takes away the close-season for the top players who will have to report back to their clubs soon after the summer tournament.

    The only real solution I see, and it won’t happen in a million years, is to lower the number of club-level fixtures. Get rid of the League Cup in England, or just remove the EPL teams from it. Fewer matches in the Champions & Europa Leagues. Adopt a schedule that resembles what the Central & South American clubs do: two parts with a good, long break in between. Schedule the confederation-wide tournaments with fewer matches.

    The top players play way too many games during the course of a season. International duty is but one part of it, and not an easy one to change.

    • David

      November 17, 2009 at 12:29 pm

      EPL snobs are too greedy to ever let something like this happen, both as a fan or as a diplomat of the game. The problem with international duty is all the club fans don’t like them. I bet that the average English football fan would rather watch their favorite club rather than their home country, and to me that’s just wrong.

  6. David

    November 17, 2009 at 11:44 am

    I understand the frustration, Mark, but when you say “International friendlies do have their place but that shouldn’t be just before Christmas when the fixture schedule is already tight and the next competitive international match is not until next summer”, all I can think of is when would you like to see them?

    I think that many people like yourself who are not a fan just say that with no real answer in mind. If you do them at the beginning of the season it’s bad because the club is trying to find their footing. Do them at xmas and the reasoning you provide is the problem. Do it in the Spring and it’s when the season is coming to close and it’s crunch time. Summers are the only time you should play with a national team?

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