Liverpool’s England fall-out: club v country or modern v old-fashioned?

For the second time in just over a month, Brendan Rodgers and Roy Hodgson have locked horns over how Liverpool players are handled whilst on international duty.

Liverpool’s England fall-out: club v country or modern v old-fashioned?

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October 16th, 2014

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Rodgers bemoaned Hodgson’s insistence that Daniel Sturridge participate in a full training session in the aftermath of England’s friendly victory over Norway in September.

Sturridge’s involvement in that training session went against his personal recovery plan, meticulously developed by sports scientists at Melwood, and led to a thigh injury that put him out of action for a month and a half.

The latest instalment of the fall-out came when Hodgson publicly revealed that Raheem Sterling had complained of tiredness, as an attempt to cover his own back for dropping the teenager for Adam Lallana as England struggled to a 1-0 win in Estonia this month.

This led to many fans and pundits publicly attacking Sterling—as if a 19-year old can’t be tired, or that it is a crime for a player to care about their long-term fitness and health.

The obvious conclusion to draw from this would be a conflict of interests. After all, Rodgers has a duty to protect his players in the interest of Liverpool and having his best players available, whilst Hodgson had an immediate objective to quality.

But look closer and this issue extends beyond the simple club vs. country debate, and further highlights Roy Hodgson’s inadequacies as England manager.

Following the Sterling row, Dutch fitness coach Raymond Verheijen labelled Hodgson a “dinosaur”, saying the 64-year-old’s “incompetence must be frustrating for educated managers like Brendan Rodgers who travelled the world.”

He added that it is “embarrassing to see dinosaur Hodgson questioning the fitness regime of the forward-thinking manager Brendan Rodgers.”

Hodgson seems stuck in the past and unable to open up to modern training methods and medical advice, instead focusing on the very old-fashioned and traditional techniques of football and man-management that are holding England back.

The stubbornness Hodgson has shown in ignoring Liverpool, who know Sturridge best, is both ignorant and disrespectful.

Going forward, there needs to be better communication and cooperation between clubs and national teams, and an open-minded attitude at the top level to the modern advances in sport science.

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