Football, in today’s world, is a busy old game. With the participation in numerous competitions, some players of leading teams may be subject to over 50 club games in a season. The footballing season is also peppered with international involvement for a lot of Premier League players – be it friendlies or tournament qualification matches. However, does international football cause more problems than benefits in modern football?
Despite only being a few weeks into the 2011/12 season, we are in the middle of an international break. International football is relished by many players who are lucky enough to represent their respective countries. But their involvement is most definitely seen differently by their managers. The risk of injury and jetlag/tiredness that international football provides is a problem that managers would rather remove yet are powerless to do so. Personally, I think that an international break this early in the season is counterproductive. It is important for teams to try and get some kind of form from the beginning of the season, especially those clubs that have been promoted and those who just avoided relegation last season.
The early international break each season can either be beneficial or have a negative effect for a team. It provides a time in which a manager can refocus his plans or tinker with tactics. But it can also be a momentum ender as players may return tired and not up to the pace. For those football fans that I have talked to and for myself, the first international break comes too soon in the season. After waiting 2 long months for football to return, a break is disappointing.
On the issue of injuries, I remember being in nerves when Torres went to international duty. It isn’t Spain’s fault, but when Torres was playing for Liverpool he suffered most of his injuries whilst playing for the side. Gerrard also was injured last season whilst on England duty in a pointless friendly in which he played 70 minutes – despite the request of Roy Hodgson for Gerrard only to play 45 minutes as he wasn’t fully fit. Charlie Adam today had to withdraw from the Scotland squad due to a hip injury suffered whilst playing against the Czech Republic. Yes, the injury may not be serious but that is just an example of the risk of injury posed by international football.
Despite these criticisms, I still love attending/watching international matches. It is a rare vehicle of patriotism and unites football fans nationwide who otherwise are rivals at club level.