Winter Breaks - A Necessary Evil?
Here at Art of Football we are unremorsefully bias towards the beautiful game, and we want as much of it as possible. Every season that precedes a major tournament sparks the same debate: would a winter break in our Domestic leagues seriously benefit the national team when it comes to major tournaments?
The principal argument for a winter break is that after a regular season in the current format, many of the players that would go on to represent England in the world cup will have played upwards of 50 games already that season through Domestic, European and International action; not to mention competing in the most physically demanding league in the world. Therefore, certain commentators and many managers have suggested that a winter break would provide a chance for players to recover somewhat, in the hope that they’d be fresher when a World Cup or European Championships comes around.
Furthermore many managers argue that the intense winter period in its current state leaves many squads depleted. Only this week Sunderland Manager Gus Poyet and Chelsea Boss Jose Mourinho were moaning about the congested fixture list.
There is also a lot of evidence to support calls for a winter break. Arguably the two dominant forces in world football of the last few years at both club and international level, Spain and Germany, both have winter breaks, Spain take two weeks off around Christmas, while in Germany players enjoy a handsome six! Meanwhile, back in England, many teams will play 11 or 12 matches in the 6 weeks around Christmas, while maintaining a full training schedule.
However, to what extent can a potentially excessive fixture list over the Christmas period truly be blamed for England’s uninspiring performances in recent tournaments? Could it in fact be that regardless of fixture list, Gareth Barry is still slower than Mesut Ozil, and England are still rubbish at penalties? Many of our top players are up there with the very best when it comes to physical fitness, and it is therefore fair to suggest that a vast technical inferiority is what plagues England at the moment, rather than a few extra games at Christmas.
More importantly, we love football over Christmas, Matt Derbyshire’s scorching winner for Forest against Leeds last Sunday was the highlight of my Holiday! There are few better feelings than beating Leeds with a late screamer a couple of days after Christmas.
So Mr Dyke, if you’re reading this, please don’t take Christmas football away. Hopefully England will prove this summer that we can compete with the very best even after a hefty season, and that a winter break is completely superfluous.