Two weeks of no EPL, Monday Night Football, Super Sunday or Fantasy Football and living in fear of your star player being injured. Rebecca Coles can’t be the only one who thinks the international break isn’t all it’s cracked up to be . . .
Bring back football! Sure, there have been games on but they’ve been far from satisfying. While England are breezing through the Euro 2016 qualifiers in Group Easy, they are not being tested against top-class opponents. Harry Kane aside, the international break has been so dull it even makes the close season look quite appealing. Six weeks of summer transfers and pre-season friendlies would be better than press conferences with national manager Roy Hodgson and watching England try for the crossbar challenge.
Every break reopens the club v country debate. It’s a stressful time for managers – just ask Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho. He hates international breaks, and with good reason: his men suffered defeats in Europe and the league after World Cup qualifiers, finishing a disappointing third last season. During a Blues press conference two years ago, he admitted the internationals had broken his team’s momentum.
He said: “I didn’t like the period . . . it’s bad, you are playing well, you are winning matches, you win matches consecutively, you win again and they disappear. It’s not a good feeling. It’s a period that always puts some question marks.”
It’s the biggest interruption of the season – especially at this stage when clubs are now fighting for promotion or battling relegation. During the break, players have to contend with travelling, exhaustion and injury risk. And if they are lucky enough to come through unscathed, they are welcomed by fixture pile-ups when they return.
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers knows the consequences only too well after star striker Daniel Sturridge endured thigh damage in the victory over Norway last September. The 25-year-old went on to suffer a string of injuries that would sideline him until January this year and see Reds slump; derailing their lofty ambitions for this campaign after finishing Premier League runners up last term.
The Liverpool manager hit out at Hodgson on the club’s official website at the time, claiming Sturridge’s initial three-week injury lay-off could have been avoided had England given him an extra day of rest after he starred in the friendly win.
Although, there are other players who come back refreshed. If the international break has been a personal success for them, they usually hit the ground running for their clubs. Last season, Rickie Lambert scored the winner for England on his debut in their 3-2 friendly victory over Scotland at Wembley, and went on to turn in such outstanding performances for Saints that he caught the eye of Liverpool.
Man-of-the-moment, Harry Kane, joined Lambert on the list of England players to score while making their bow. The Spurs hitman returns elated after netting the fourth goal in their thrashing of Lithuania, which will no doubt give his club a boost – and may well save chairman Daniel Levy from giving manager Mauricio Pochettino the boot from White Hart Lane.
You can’t deny that Kane has given the international break some excitement back for England fans. But, come on, admit it, all those who really want to see their clubs prosper are thinking: roll on the weekend!
Have you enjoyed watching England in action against Lithuania and Italy? Do you think the international break should be moved away from such a crucial part of the Premier League season?
Read more from Rebecca Coles here!