BENGALURU: Football club managers in England have been moaning about the tight schedule in the wake of the pandemic in the last few months.
They are right to some extent as players are risking injuries due to a jam-packed schedule with no time rest. But they are left with no choice in an extraordinary season due to Covid-19. Things are going to get complicated further with the upcoming world cup qualifiers later this month for clubs that have players from countries like Brazil and a host number of nations, which are included in the UK's Covid-19 red list.
It means they will have to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days upon return, which clubs are not okay with as this might force players to miss some big matches. No wonder, Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp and Manchester United's Ole Gunnar Solskjaer have already hinted about the possibility of not sending their players to countries on the list.
Expect some more managers to join in and voice their opinion on the same. Former England and Manchester City goalkeeper David James believes players will have to agree with what the club requests them to do.
"The clubs operating in the UK have their own guidelines therefore the club should be able to influence the players. Of course, this is an issue that the players have the right to argue against. But in the end, if they have to stay at the top clubs, they have to adhere to all the club's requests," he told this daily.
"Under normal circumstances, managers would not object, even if that meant missing a game here and there, but there is a time period for quarantine afterwards, then players could be out (unavailable) for some time."
In fact, the ball is in the club's court with FIFA, as per Klopp, stating that the clubs have the choice of not releasing their players this time. And with the club paying huge salaries to the players, it makes sense that they keep them and avail their services in the business end of the competition.
"I think the players and the international associations have to accept that players in the UK cannot go in high-risk areas. We are in unprecedented times so they have to deal with it likewise,” added James.
City favourite for CL Manchester City has been in an incredible form of late, winning 21 games on a trot across all competitions.
They have crushed teams with their attacking brand of football. In fact, they have not lost a single game in the Champions League this season, and James considers them to be favourites for the European title.
They beat Borussia Mönchengladbach 2-0 in the first leg of round of 16 with the return fixture set to be played on March 16.
“This year, 21 wins in a row and they have been breaking all sorts of records. Once again, the team looks unbeatable. It is difficult to score against them…. I think they are favourites, ” said James, who also feels that the Citizens need to be in competitive form if they face Bayern Munich at any point of time.