INJURIES and bad luck are a part of elite sport.
I heard on talkSPORT people were debating whether we should stop the last round of Premier League games to protect players going to the World Cup.
Come on, really?
There will be players who miss out on FA Cup or Champions League finals, NBA stars or those in the NFL who miss out, too.
It is about being fit at the right time and being in form, and it is untimely but England have had a spurt of injuries.
But if this was any normal season, players would be getting injured now anyway, with fixtures coming thick and fast and the previous campaign taking a toll.
I remember Declan Rice saying he played 68 games last season and now he is playing week in, week out.
But the law of averages suggests that if you arenât given a proper rest, you will probably get injured.
It is just the demand of being one of the biggest players in your position.
Ben Chilwell was injured last year, too, so it isnât anything new for him to be sidelined â it is just unfortunate.
Harry Kane said he will not take a backwards step in these last few games, and thatâs how it should be. At that level, if you are off it by five per cent, it shows.
If youâre thinking a player can just potter about in a Prem game, not put too many tackles in and avoid any chance of getting injured, youâre wrong. It is impossible.
If Rice decides not go into a tackle properly, do you think West Ham fans will say, âAh, itâs okay, he is saving himself for Englandâ. Absolutely not.
You are either at it or not.
If David Moyes or any boss sees that, they will go, âNah, that ainât happening. You think youâre too good for us?â
There is also the other angle. If you pull out of tackles to avoid injury in the Prem, then get selected but donât play a minute at the World Cup, the first thing your manager is going to say is, âAre you going to play properly this week?â
Letâs say a player goes further and tells his manager, âIâm not going to play in the last weekend of gamesâ, he may still get injured in the week leading up to the World Cup. What do we blame then? The training?
Playing for the national team is the biggest honour you can have. But it only comes from the hard work you put in with your club, so I donât think you can change who you are.
Iâve seen players go off to international duty and nothing changed in their personality the two or three weeks before it.
We also need to come away from this notion weâre the only nation losing players to injury â with Timo Werner being the most recent for Germany.
Gareth Southgate has a valid reason, if the current injury doubts miss out, to suggest this will not be his strongest England squad. But I donât think we can have many excuses. Our depth is ridiculous. We have a wonderful squad regardless.
With Chilwell out, Brentfordâs Rico Henry would do really well.
If Kane goes down, the people coming in are not world class yet â but only because they havenât had their chance.
We went to World Cups with Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe as back-ups, who werenât considered world class, and I didnât hear many complaints.
We are creating excuses and a narrative as to why we canât win the World Cup â or go far in Qatar. For once, letâs not build that safety net.
CALL UP CALLUM AND SPOT-KICK KING IVAN
CALLUM WILSON has been injured in the past but now he has hit great form and is flying, and now youâre arguing he shouldnât miss out on Qatar.
Right now, it seems it is either Wilson or Ivan Toney. In my opinion, I donât think Ivan goes.
That isnât my personal choice as I think he should, but I could see a scenario where Gareth Southgate picks just one out-and-out striker to be a replacement for Harry Kane, and then pick a wide player to cover that area like Marcus Rashford.
For me, Gareth should take both Wilson and Toney. They are two completely different sorts of players.
If we get to a situation like we did in the Euros final, you need a proven penalty taker. Thatâs what history has shown us, in high pressure moments to win games, so why wouldnât you take him?
Even if he doesnât play but comes on purely to do the business from 12 yards, we need someone who regularly takes them, rather than a player who takes them well in training.
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