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Injuries Increase Ever Growing Pressure On International Football

Wayne Rooney goes to the aid of injured team mate Theo Walcott England 2010/11 Switzerland V England (1-3) Group G 07/09/10 UEFA Euro2012 Qualifier Photo Robin Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom

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?

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  1. RVPFan

    September 11, 2010 at 9:17 am

    There are enough major tounaments: World Cup, Euros, and more than enough qualifying matches for both Cups to go on playing the International Friendlies. I think FIFA should just scrap it. Take, RVP for example, Chellieni made a good tackle, but unnecessary tackle in a friendly game, and RVP out for 5 months, Wenger sat their helplessly as he could do nothing, even though his club is the one paying RVP. FIFA did not even consider repaying the damage that was done in a ridiculously unnecessary friendly match, with Arsenal’s title hopes on the line. Walcott’s fate is not the same, because I can understand that it was a qualifying match for a major tournament, we are incredibly unlucky, because as the author mentioned, Walcott was in top form. We always lose players when they are in top form and end up playing the likes of Bendtner. Niclas Bendtner whilst a decent player and a decent goalscorer, is no where near the level required to play for top club like Arsenal.

  2. tonyspeed

    September 10, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    i personally think friendlies are a waste of time. maybe international games have had their day. but in reality, they don’t put the food on the plate of the players or the clubs that pay them. it’s basically an evil that everyone tolerates. they need to change the rules for international games to allow unlimited subs to minimise injury to players. also, the rules for yellow and red cards need to be much stricter, especially in games that are not part of any tournament. the clubs should be getting at least half, but more like 75%, of the profits of these games, including tv revenues. maybe too managers should be given more freedom in refusing to allow certain players to go on internatonal leave if that player is at a high risk for injury.

  3. Patrico

    September 10, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    While it doesn’t solve the problem, I like the idea suggested in the article of scheduling international games around the transfer windows, or immediately before, or having limited exceptions for teams whose players get injured while playing for country.

    If club teams had the opportunity to replace players immediately, and they received adequate compensation from the national teams, then managers might stop complaining. Of course, not sure if Chelsea could be adequately compensated by Ivory Coast, e.g., if Drogba got hurt.

  4. Matt

    September 10, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    None of the injuries suffered by the guys who are mentioned in the article were in “international friendlies”. They were hurt on Euro 2012 qualifying. Qualifying is a necessary step for the major tournaments that make our summers worthwhile. Friendlies, absolutely not.

  5. dlink09

    September 10, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    toddmintz it ain’t gonna happen. fifa will not want to loose tv money…

    • lefthog

      September 10, 2010 at 3:18 pm

      Fifa does not get a dollar for those friendlies or qualifiers.

      The ones who rake the bucks are the respective home teams who sell tickets and hold TV rights.

      And because the national teams are the most valuable asset of a Football Associaton, they in turn – as voting FIFA Members – will not allow their precious international dates to be scrapped from the FIFA calender.

  6. Akshai

    September 10, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    toddmintz’s idea is great, but clubs that lose players to long-term injuries (RVP for Arsenal after the friendly against Italy) should be allowed to go on the market for a certain amount of time. Additionally, FAs have to be ready to compensate clubs for injured players.

  7. toddmintz

    September 10, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    A solution to alleviate 1 or 2 weeks of fixtures as follows:

    Make Fifa bottom ranked teams in Europe qualify in opening round of qualifiers.

    The winners join top 3 seeds in each group for 4 teams. This means 6 Euro games instead of 8 or 10, saving 1-2 weeks of wear and tear.

    Under this scenario, next month England, Italy, Spain, Dutch etc start play

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