England coach Roy Hodgson has been labelled a “dinosaur” by a football fitness expert, Raymond Verheijen. His recent actions seem to be targeting Liverpool.
Firstly it was Daniel Sturridge, who Brendan Rodger believes should have had a two day rest period between games which proved to be critical as the England international picked up a thigh injury in less than 48 hours after playing 89 minutes in a friendly against Norway last month.
This time, 19-year-old Raheem Sterling was targeted by the English coach. Sterling had complained of tiredness prior to England’s qualifying game against Estonia, leading Hodgson to start the Liverpool star as a substitute in Tallinn.
According to Verheijen, the Dutch coach and fitness guru who runs the World Football Academy training the next generation of coaches, gave a detailed perspective on the club vs country theory that has seemingly occupied the English game.
Verheijen said, “Sterling is totally right. He does need at least two days of recovery after every match. It is a given.
“For Roy to say there is no evidence for this is a joke. He makes himself look like a dinosaur. There is overwhelming evidence.
“In Sterling’s case, there are three reasons for this. Firstly, young players develop more fatigue during a game than mature players. The load ability of Sterling is less than the load ability of a 26-year-old, which means if Sterling does the same load his body will be more tired.
“Secondly, Sterling is an explosive player. He has a lot of fast muscle fibres, which are white because not a lot of blood flows through these fibres. Slow muscle fibres are red because they need a lot of blood. If there is a lot of blood, there is a lot of oxygen. Fast muscle fibres recover slower because there is less oxygen. Because Sterling has a lot of fast muscle fibres he will (recover) slower than somebody with slow muscle fibres.”
In his defence for both Sturridge and Sterling, the England boss clarified the fact of no existing evidence why two quality players cannot perform similar duties for their nation as they do for the club.
“I don’t think there is a lot of medical evidence to support the two-day recoveries but on the other hand it could easily be like this (international break) when we did virtually nothing in teams of what I consider to be training the day after the San Marino game.
Verheijen, the former Wales and Armenia No.2 whose CV includes spells at Barcelona, Chelsea and Manchester City also said, “In England the coach education is rubbish and that’s why Sturridge got injured in training on international duty. They don’t know about (the less is more) periodisation (approach) and tailoring players’ training methods.
“I have a lot of respect for the way Brendan Rodgers handles this situation. He is very polite even though he knows England are not looking after Liverpool’s players properly.
“At least they (England) tried to prevent Sterling getting injured but the player should not have to manage his own conditioning. Roy has clearly not learned from the Sturridge case.”
This has been a case from a long time when club and country involved with players go into a cold war. But it is still difficult to say whose property are the players? The club or country? I believe that it should be up to the players to decide because as it is, it’s their fitness at stake and they better than everyone know their capacity.