Arsenal Women star striker Viv Miedema says UEFA & FIFA need to listen to players by Michelle
Arsenal’s Viv Miedema recently returned to Arsenal after being granted a 2 week leave of absence to rest and recharge, due to her workload and lingering effects of Covid. Since her return Miedema has scored twice in 2 games, and seems to be back on fine form after the break.
Arsenal have been plagued with injuries this season with Leah Williamson and Rafaelle Souza only just returning from injury, after 2 months of rehabilitation and recovery whist Beth Mead recently suffered an ACL injury that will keep her out for the rest of the season, putting her World Cup hopes in real jeopardy.
Speaking before Arsenal face Juventus at Emirates Stadium tonight, Miedema said: I think if you look at women’s football and men’s football in general right now, the load on us players is too high. It’s something players are now starting to speak about. We’ve had Rafa and Leah out for the first half of the season because they’ve played the Euros and Copa America, and not had the time off.
26-year-old Miedema, who has over 100 caps for the Netherlands said: As a player, you want to be playing in the big tournaments. The biggest difference is we have more international windows than the men have. We also play the Olympics with our A team instead of the U23s. I think that’s something FIFA and UEFA need to start looking at.
Miedema continued: In women’s football, we also don’t have the same sorts of numbers within a squad. Man City’s men’s team probably has 22, 23 full-time, amazing players. This year, I think we’ve got 18,19 players that are capable of being in the squad for us.
For Arsenal’s last game against Juventus in Turin, Eidevall was down to a choice of only 15 first team players.. our Gunners walked away with a 1-1 draw, thanks to a goal from Miedema but this is exactly Miedema’s case and point.
They (FIFA & UEFA) need to start listening to us players instead of making the decisions off money or popularity. We need to try to come to a solution with the players and associations together.
I had Covid during the Euros which I’d not really fully recovered from, explained Miedema. Some people go through it with a cold but I was in my bed for 10 days. I had a high fever and I’ve been really sick from it, so I needed some time to recover.
In the beginning of the season, you get through it because you’re on auto-pilot almost. Then I missed the second national period through illness again and I spoke to Jonas [Eidevall, Arsenal manager] about getting a rest and managing my minutes.
I just didn’t feel mentally or physically ready to actually play. I think you could see that in the way I was playing. I didn’t enjoy my football at that moment and the moment you wake up in the morning not wanting to go in, that’s the moment you need to make a switch.
I was really happy my coaches granted me the time off and I could get away for two weeks.
I hope me taking the time off will help players to feel comfortable enough to ask for that break and they don’t feel ashamed for taking it, she said.
It’s been so non-stop over the last couple of years that you just need to switch off. I used the time away to go to the other side of the world but still trained every day. I used that period of time to actually get myself fit.
That’s the biggest difference I feel on the pitch right now – I feel physically a lot fitter and I think you can see that in the games. The game’s become easy again for me.
What Miedema is saying is already a theme running through the women’s game, with Chelsea boss Emma Hayes recently expressing her concern at the demands being placed on players and Arsenal boss Eidevall saying recently: I really think it’s something that we need to consider in women’s football when we see the calendar – to see how we put the players’ health first here. They are constantly going between really competitive games at club level onto an international level. It has been taking up a lot of my thinking time because my gut feeling says that we’re not creating something that is good for the players at the moment.
Interview courtesy of Sky Sports.
Our Gunners are back in Champions League action tonight as they take on Juventus at Emirates Stadium before their next WSL match on Sunday 11th December when they are away at Villa Park to take on Aston Villa. The Villa game will be broadcast live on Sky Sports, with coverage from 3.30pm and kick-off at 4.15pm (UK).
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