When Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard was injured towards the end of last night’s friendly against France, his club’s physio echoed the feelings of thousands of Liverpool fans when he tweeted instinctively:
‘Unbelievable from all associated with England and English FA with regard to Steven Gerrard’s injury. Completely ignored agreement and past history.’
Who exactly do Liverpool think they are to insist on a limited appearance time for their player? Fabio Capello can play Steven Gerrard for the full 90 minues in goal if he chooses. Yep, I know, you pay his wages and all that, but international football is still around, and while it is, clubs shouldn’t interfere. Arsene Wenger hoped that his players would be played lightly by France, but he stopped short of making “an agreement”. We don’t know what “agreement” , if any, was made between Hodgson and Capello, but Capello was unapologetic, and rightly so.
Darren Burgess is not the only physio tweeting criticism of teams and managers at the moment. Raymond Verheije is Craig Bellamy’s personal physio, and he’s busy telling anyone who listens how right he is about everything. I appreciate that they must get a little possessive about the treatment of “their” players, but they come across like a fussy Mother complaining that the schoolteacher didn’t make little Johnny wear a coat at lunchtime.
International injuries happen to every cllub. Its swings and roundabouts. I didn’t hear Liverpool complaining too loudly in 2009 when Van Persie was injured and sidelined for 6 weeks while on duty with Holland. On that same evening , Lampard and Terry returned to Chelsea with injuries sustained with England. Liverpool benefitted in those instance, just as other clubs will benefit from Gerrard’s absence. And let’s be honest, if Liverpool weren’t so reliant on Gerrard to dig them out of trouble so regularly, then his hamstring would not be so susceptible to injury.
It wasn’t just Gerrard that came home to Liverpool with a sore leg. Dirk Kuyt aggravated an existing ankle problem while away with Holland. It’s Gerrard’s importance to Liverpool, and the manner of his injury which rankles with Liverpool fans. Why was he still on the pitch? Well, he’s a footballer playing for England, and all those people who turned out to see their team deserve to see Steven Gerrard playing the full 90 minutes. Too many people are short changed at international friendlies.
I read tonight that the FA’s insurers are going to make a payout to Liverpool over the injury.
The FA are attempting to claim that this is some sort of victimless payment, that they aren’t actually paying it, but their insurers will. This is bollocks of course. The FA will be paying massive premiums, and those payments will be coming from the FA’s coffers. Money that is being diverted from grassroots and development funds. Money that will now be used to buy another Prestige car for Steven Gerrard’s collection, instead of providing football for people who have a lot worse disability than a pulled hamstring . Shameful.