Published on October 25, 2012 | by Nathan Evans0
International duty angers managers
Top leagues in football take a breather for international teams to compete in World Cup qualifiers. The time off has come under question for many years. Just before the stop in play on the 12th October many managers spoke out about the impact that international fixtures have on the squads.
The break can cause many different problems and can affect any club. Injuries aren’t just the only example of problems teams can occur; it is also a possibility that a team or even a player can suffer a dip in form which can be instrumental to the final outcome of the teams’ season.
Newcastle United suffer from jet-lag, with star strike-partners Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse jetting home to Senegal and captain Fabricio Coloccini playing for Argentina.
However, flights are the least of a club manager’s problems, with the possibility of injuries whilst away from the club increased. Newcastle’s Coloccini pulled up with a hamstring injury whilst on duty with Argentina and Chelsea’s Frank Lampard, who went away with England but failed to take any part in the two fixtures they played after picking up an injury.
Following the break, Lampard returned to Chelsea for their away game against Tottenham, where he started on the bench, and made his full return on Tuesday against Shakhtar Donetsk only to limp off after 17 minutes with a calf injury, possibly due to being rushed back into the side.
Earlier this season, Wigan Athletic manager Roberto Martinez aired his feelings on the International break, stressing the importance of a “happy balance between the demands at club level and representing your national team.” This was brought about due to the fact Martinez’s Wigan were due to play Manchester United just 48 hours after his international stars had returned home from duty, including defender Antolin Alcaraz, who suffered an injury whilst playing for his home nation Paraguay. Martinez is of the belief that the international breaks can co-exist with the Premier League but that it needs to be sorted so that there is a “longer recovery time before you play your next game”.
The Premier League side who have probably suffered the most from this break are Liverpool. When their squad returned from the break their first choice keeper, Spain’s Pepe Reina, had suffered a knock whilst warming-up for the France game, and £12million new-signing Fabio Borini also suffered a broken foot whilst on International duty, leaving Liverpool with only one fit striker available leading up to the busy Christmas period.
It is unlikely that the International break will be altered any time soon but managers will continue to call for changes. It is not that managers want rid of the break altogether as has been suggested in the past – this would mean that their players would be playing almost all year round.
With the situation not only being about qualifying competitions, but also International friendlies, managers can request that their player is withdrawn from the squad completely. Surely it’s about time that FIFA stood up, began negotiations and sorted the problem out in a way that keeps both the league clubs and national sides happy.