Ian Baraclough: Northern Ireland manager calls on UEFA and FIFA to find solution to player burnout | Soccer News

Northern Ireland manager Ian Baraclough has called on UEFA and FIFA to find a solution to the international football calendar or risk damaging players’ health.

Baraclough, who is without nine senior players for upcoming Nations League games against Greece, Cyprus and Kosovo, has targeted European football’s governing body for scheduling four fixtures in June.

Corry Evans, Josh Magennis and Craig Cathcart are among those Baraclough says are exhausted and need rest to rid themselves of injuries.

The former Motherwell boss agrees with recent comments from PFA chief executive Maheta Molango who said football was “slumbering in a crisis” with the demands of the schedule.

Baraclough said Sky Sports News“Back-to-back seasons as was the case during the Covid period – people forget that there was very little time between the end of last season and the start of the season that has just passed.

“For the players, the demands on them are becoming more and more important. Whether it’s UEFA or FIFA, they have to look at the situation. By asking players to follow a 12-month cycle, it’s just not not possible and you find a lot of those injuries are fatigue injuries.

“I know the PFA chief executive came out and said we have to take care of these players because they can’t continue without having a rest period.

“There have also been studies on this by FIFPRO and club managers are rightly concerned about their players who then go on international duty after a heavy workload throughout the season.”

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Highlights of the international friendly match between Luxembourg and Northern Ireland

Baraclough highlighted Jordan Henderson’s omission from the England squad and said smaller nations like Northern Ireland suffered more. He also thinks it’s wrong that Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah are hitting 70 games for the season.

He added: “The likes of Mo Salah and Sadio Mane at Liverpool, for example, could be approaching 70 games and it’s not just the top players who are asked to play a lot of games, it’s at all levels. now.

“Four Nations League games in June were always going to be a tough ask for us. You also want to bring in your biggest and best players. We have nine absentees we have to deal with who could potentially be in this squad. We don’t have that and many are fatigue injuries.

Man City’s promising youngster Shea Charles is one of four players to be included in the senior squad for the first time along with Rangers midfielder Charlie McCann, Huddersfield’s Brodie Spencer and Glentoran winger Conor McMenamin.

Thirteen of the 28 players have five caps or less, but they are boosted by the inclusion of experienced duo Steven Davis and Jonny Evans, as well as the return of Kyle Lafferty.

Meanwhile, Baraclough has spoken to Leeds boss Jesse Marsch about inviting ‘popular’ Stuart Dallas to join the upcoming squads to help educate young players.

He also endorsed Davis’ quality and urged Rangers to offer his captain a new contract.

Sky Sports

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