Hodgson: Tours a spanner in the works
England boss Roy Hodgson has admitted the post-season friendlies between FA Cup semi-finalists Chelsea and Manchester City have "complicated" his own plans for the summer.
With no competitive fixtures arranged, the Football Association thought they were doing England's leading clubs a favour by arranging encounters with the Republic of Ireland and Brazil for dates earlier than June 7 and 11 which are ringfenced by FIFA, getting them off on their summer breaks quicker than scheduled.
Instead it has brought them problems. For Hodgson has no call on players. And he could now find up to half a dozen of the men he intended to select for England's two games might be returning from the United States on the day his squad are due to meet up.
"The official FIFA dates are not until the middle of June," he said. "We thought they wouldn't suit the clubs because it would mean quite a long break from the middle of May to the middle of June, so we decided to play a couple of friendlies earlier.
"What we didn't factor in was some clubs going on post-season tours, which have not been such a common thing in recent years. That complicates things."
It is expected Hodgson will try and discuss the matter with Chelsea and Manchester City, although if they decided all their England men are required for duty in St Louis and New York, there is little he can do.
Not that it is the only issue presently vexing the England boss.
A month after Rio Ferdinand withdrew from the squad for the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro citing his "intricate and pre-planned" training regime, then subsequently jetted to Doha to mix some warm weather training at the Aspire clinic with a stint as a pundit for Al Jazeera, Hodgson has expressed a fear that clubs are now treating international breaks as recovery time.
"Football needs the club and international game," said Hodgson. "It is a great pity some people are trying to suggest international football should be reduced to a lesser stage because the club teams have important matches.
"One thing that bothers me slightly is that these international breaks are being seen as a 10-day break you don't always get during a season."
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