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The Gryphon examines the damaging effects that the International Break has on domestic competitions
The International Break may be considered one of the worst times for club football fans. With the Premier League season having started only eight weeks ago, we are now seeing the second break for international games. But is this week off a crucial time for recovery or more of a hindrance to those teams trying to build on their early season form?
For teams such as Leeds United, whose fans may consider this to be a punishing week as they sit third in the in the table, having had a great run to the start of the season with only one loss in their first 12 games. The euphoria around Marcelo Bielsa’s boys has meant that the city is thriving with renewed hopes of success. But for the players of Leeds United, the international break will be considered a time of rest before they head to Ewood Park to play 10th place Blackburn Rovers on the 20th October.
With the 2018/2019 season coming directly after the World Cup, it has become apparent that some players have needed an extended period of rest in order to get back to full fitness. Teams such as Liverpool are losing up to 30 of their squad members for international duties this week. With this comes complications regarding potential injuries as national managers may not fully be in the know of players’ fitness levels.
Therefore, there is a huge worry that this early in the season players may become injured and potentially carry these for an extended period of time. Mo Salah struggled with a hamstring strain during the later stages of the win for Egypt against Swaziland on Friday night, which is a worry for Liverpool and Salah in upcoming games, having started the first eight games for them.
Fatigue is also an issue that can occur during the international break since some players are playing at an intense level in quick succession. Furthermore, this period may involve travelling for long distances, with jet lag as an inevitable consequence. This is a terrible combination for those players who are returning to compete for their clubs in a very quick time scale as some players will have less than two days to recuperate.
Despite England’s recent 3-2 win against Spain, there have been far more goalless draws for the Three Lions in an empty stadium that come to mind. Arguably, a thrilling club derby or the voices of Jeff Stelling and Chris Kamara may be more exciting for the typical armchair fan.