Wiegman attempts to strike balance with England players risking burnout | Sarah Wiegman

Sarina Wiegman says England must work hard to find the right balance between looking after players and playing at the highest level, with the international calendar not expected to change until 2026.

“We can’t change that,” she said. “So you try to do your best to take care of the players while performing at the highest level and eliminating the highest injury risks, together with the clubs. The clubs and us, as the FA, we have no control over the schedule.

Speaking ahead of friendlies in Marbella against Austria on Friday and Italy on Tuesday, Wiegman criticized a schedule which means that even without a major tournament this summer his players will have little rest. Team GB missed out on a place at the Paris Olympics.

“There’s no tournament so it should be a chance to rest, but because of the June window and the July window, how are you going to get some time off?” she says. “After that there is a bit of free time, because in England the WSL starts later (September 20-21), but the first round of the Champions League starts at the beginning of September, which takes the summer away from these players.

“This is what we need to take care of and we have asked Fifa and UEFA to look at this and change this in the future so that the players can rest. It’s great that we have players who love football, but we also have to take care of them, so we have to do something about the schedule.

Georgia Stanway (left) and Sarina Wiegman (centre) speak to the media in Marbella on Thursday. Photograph: Naomi Baker/The FA/Getty Images

For Bayern Munich’s Georgia Stanway, this year – despite Covid – will be the first summer since 2015 where she will not take part in a tournament. “There was Euro 2016 (M17), then we went to Jordan with the under-17s (World Cup, in 2016), then there was a Euro (M19), declared the English midfielder . “Then there was France (World Cup in 2018) with the under-20s, France again (2019 World Cup) with the seniors, then the Covid, then the Tokyo Olympics (2021), the Euro (2022) and the World Cup (2023).”

There was obvious disappointment at missing the Olympics, but the possibility of a real break seemed at first like a sort of compensation. “We realized it wasn’t as simple as that,” Stanway said. “But the best thing you can do is work with the country and the clubs to find the best solution and hopefully the best solution is to give us a good amount of rest. But also, most importantly now, it is that we want to qualify for Euro 2025.

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“As players (we want) the decision taken away from us. That’s something we talked about last year, allowing the team above us to make the decision and then we can just go for it. This is a potential burnout. But we play football, we love football, football is our life. All we do is succeed on the field. And we know that we will put ourselves in the best possible position for Euro 2025 because that is the trophy we want to keep.

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