England forwards face race to be fit for Euro 2020 as Man City boss criticises demands on players
Pep Guardiola believes that a punishing fixture schedule may have contributed to the injuries that have left Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford in a race to be fit for Euro 2020.
This week, Tottenham striker Kane has had surgery on a hamstring injury while United forward Marcus Rashford has suffered a double back stress fracture.
The pair hope to be back before the end of the season but losing one or both would be a significant blow to England’s hopes of winning the European Championships.
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Guardiola said he is not surprised to see clubs and countries suffering long injury lists because the demands on the players are too great.
“It’s a big blow for the national team. Kane and Rashford are incredibly important players for them. Hopefully they can recover,” he said.
“It’s an incredible amount of games. Now we’re talking about it because they are [injured], but looking back at the injuries Newcastle have had, we have had, all the teams. That is normal.
“With that number of games, players break down. I’m not surprised. I’m so sorry for them. The big administration people cannot complain because it’s normal this happens.
“Of course it is too much to expect. They arrive in the Euros, playing with the national teams trying their best, then [back here] after no more than 20 days because the show must go on. It’s unsustainable. The players fall down. It’s too much.”
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp also complained about too much football earlier in the season and Guardiola says the managers are in agreement but the footballing authorities are not interested.
“All the managers complained about it and they don’t care,” he added. “Now Boxing Day is over, another season, and prepare for the next one. A distance of two or three days again and again. The players suffer.
“They want to do well and the clubs have a lot of pressure to win or qualify for the Champions League. We push and push. The body says stop, it’s enough.”
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Raheem Sterling is one player hoping to play a major part in England’s summer but after a blistering start to the season, the forward has only been on target in four of his last 16 matches for club and country.
“He played more than 3,000 minutes, his standards are continuing quite similar, maybe he hasn’t scored in the last games but there are no doubts,” Guardiola said.
“Normally when one guy is always and then one game he isn’t there people say ‘what’s happened?’”