Thursday, November 01, 2007

PFA talking tosh over Liverpool star facing burn-out?

PFA chief Gordon Taylor has sprung to the defence of Steven Gerrard, stating that he fears England players like the Liverpool skipper will suffer because of burn-out. There's too many games we are being told.

For the record, Gerrard has played six times for either club or country in 18 days during October. Taylor says that too many players are suffering with foot injuries. I actually agree with him on this point, but my own view is this is down to the design of these lightweight carpet-slipper like football boots, which do not offer enough protection.

Apparently, Rooney has had to have 'special boots' designed by Nike. The fact that Nike have had to take action of this nature speaks volumes. It begs the question, how many other top-flight stars have requested similar boots? Surely it wont be just Rooney?

Added to which, United fans might well argue that Taylor is talking rubbish, our top players are used to playing three times in any seven days at this time of year. The Reds have just equalled that record of scoring four goals in four consecutive games, the last time they did that was back in 1907. In doing so, Rooney et al flew to Russia, and then the Ukraine, while Tevez has been clocking up the air-miles playing for Argentina.

However, no football fan in their right mind wants to see players suffering with foot injuries and or burn-out, but we have to remember that it's the same in the other big European leagues. Only in Germany do they have fewer teams in their top division, eighteen to be precise. La Liga and Serie A have 20 teams like the Premier League. All the while England have been getting dusted by other European nations and others when it really matters.

Taylor has stopped short asking for a reduction in the number of teams in the Premier League, but that is one way of cutting down the hectic schedule of games. Another suggestion would be to scrap the Carling Cup, but the clubs wont vote for that - because money talks. Perhaps it's time to think about introducing a winter-break as they do in Germany?

Whatever decision is made in the longer term, it wont make up for England's consistent failure on the international stage. The whole approach to coaching youngsters needs to be looked at in this country. As the FAs football ambassador Trevor Brooking has said many times, English youngsters are just not skilful enough. That is where the problem starts, at the grass-roots of the English game.

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