Roy Hodgson calls for international calendar to be reduced

‘Players are playing their fourth game in two weeks, that’s not good’: Roy Hodgson joins other Premier League managers in calling for international calendar to be reduced amid club fixture pile-up

  • Roy Hodgson has become the latest top-flight boss to moan about scheduling
  • Three games were shoved into the last international break, including friendlies
  • The former England manager says players are having to play too many games 

Roy Hodgson believes the international fixture calendar could be reduced in order to help players cope with the compacted Covid-hit season.

The Crystal Palace manager rarely speaks out on Gareth Southgate’s England role as he does not want to be seen to interfere from his privileged position as a former national boss.

But he has joined fellow Premier League coaches in questioning the wisdom of cramming three matches into last week’s international break.

Roy Hodgson has joined other managers in calling for the international calendar to be reduced

Hodgson, who takes his side to winless Burnley on Monday night, explained: ‘Like every manager in the Premier League, we would contest the need for a friendly when there are two Nations League games.

‘I’d like to think I would have been sympathetic with people saying to me when I was international manager, “In this period, the way things are, can you restrict it just to the two Nations League games which have got to be played, can you forego a friendly?”

‘I’d like to think I’d have said, “Yes, we’ll forego the friendly”.

Three international fixtures were crammed into the last break, including friendly matches

‘It hasn’t been the case and it does mean a lot of players are coming back at the weekend to play their fourth game within two weeks, and that’s not good. 

‘Particularly for the top teams in our league, who have more games away than teams like ourselves who are closer to the bottom.

‘But we’ve had nine players away ourselves so even we suffered.’

Muscular injuries are increasing as players continue to play more games this campaign

Hodgson, who has also been reluctantly persuaded to support the reintroduction of five substitutes per match, believes the rest of the season will be tough on top-flight players.

He added: ‘We’ve foregone the winter break, we’ve extended the season by one week, but having started so much later the season is so much more compromising.

‘And it’s going to be very, very tough, in particular for those top teams which play in Europe.’

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