So, do footballers play too much? Or get too much rest? Take your pick…

Playing Too Much Or Too Much Rest – Excuse Or A Myth? By Dan Smith

So, there needs to be two additional substitutes because players will find the upcoming fixture schedule too tiring. Of course, they can’t possibly play every three days only being allowed to make 3 changes from the bench.

Now you might ask how professional athletes could be worried about fatigue and stamina having had 3 months off? Well, apparently, science says there is such a thing as too much rest.

So, if this Pandemic never happened and Euro 2020 was going ahead next month, would Gareth Southgate be telling a now 100 percent healthy Kane and Rashford ‘sorry you have had too much rest’?

Yet every Christmas what does the likes of Pep Guardiola complain about? The need for a break? Why did Liverpool not just rest their entire squad in the FA Cup, but Klopp was too exhausted to even show up? They needed a break.

Why do most clubs field a weak eleven in the League Cup? To give the first team a break.

Why did the Premier League split a round of fixtures over two weekends in February? Because for years managers and owners had moaned …. for a break.

So, which one is it? Do you want a rest, or do you want to play? You are the clubs who are finding every loophole to play a contact sport while the rest of the world have to social distance, then moan and complain that your players legs might fall off if they have to play 3 games a week.

Of course, any other summer, the health and wellbeing of your squad doesn’t matter when you fly halfway round the world to sell your brand.

Have you ever heard a tour to Asia or America to be cancelled because your medical team advised it to be more relaxing just to hang out at your local spa? I guess we don’t look at the red zone then.

Seriously, if governments ended all lockdown measures tomorrow, I bet clubs would find the time to cram in a quick trip to the Far East before the new campaign starts.

In fact, considering the European Championship has been cancelled, and I assume pre-season won’t be abroad, most players are actually due to play less minutes than they have for years.

We always talk about the obscene wages these young men get. Most supporters though don’t mind the superstars getting well paid. The issue is today a fairly ordinary talent can claim 70,000 grand a week and become very rich without having achieved anything.

We want them to care, to fight, to stop making excuses. Then we wrap them up in cotton wool and pamper to them.

‘They play too much.’

‘They rest too much.’

‘We will play but not in a neutral ground.’

‘We will play but can we have 5 subs?’

What’s next? Will 90 minutes soon be too long?

We ask where have the great leaders and characters gone? The Roy Keanes, the Vieiras, the Adams, Gerrards and Terrys. Can you imagine any of them complaining that they were overplayed? They wouldn’t let you in a dressing room if you were complaining that 3 months rest now meant you had a disadvantage.

You ever notice how often a Messi or Ronaldo play? Notice that they are rarely injured? Have they ever not won anything because they played too much? In fact, quite the opposite!

Dan Smith


  1. Good read Dan ,once again .
    I’ve just finished watching The last dance on Netflix (everyone should watch it )not a Basketball fan but after finishing the series I came to realise that football players are pampered ,82 games in a season ,one hour a game ,traveling to and from games ,constant media circus ,pressures of having a crowd sat literally on top of you I was very impressed with how they as professionals take it all in ,
    Then we come back to our lovely footballers who I cannot see in this day and age how they cannot play 2 games a week .
    Imagine having to put in a 10 hour shift for 5days a week I mean how do normal folk manage it .
    I highly recommend watching the Last dance .

  2. I agree with Dan kit, it was a good read.

    I remember when one of my sporty sons played basket ball for the school. He came off the court absolutely wringing wet with sweat – it was such a high intensity game. He never looked like that after a game of football so there is no reason at all not to be able to play more fixtures in a shorter time scale. They are fit young men supposedly.

    This generation of footballers are rewarded beyond their ability in most cases. They do, I agree, lead pampered lives and I don’t think it is actually good for their wellbeing. They have not got a clue about living in the real world because there is somebody there to look after their every need.

    I think it was AW who was at the heart of putting out the reserves for what he considered to be less important fixtures. Whether this was to ‘blood’ the youngsters or to give the 1st team a break, I don’t know but it was copied widely afterwards.

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