Former Liverpool youth coach, Karl Robinson, has warned that young players like Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli could be burned out due to the amount of football they are having to play.
Robinson, who has coached some great talents including current Reds full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold, was speaking to the Blood Red Podcast about the challenges younger players face in making it to the top of the game.
Dele Alli has had multiple injury problems over the past year or so and he has received a fair bit of criticism for the drop in his standards of performance.
Robinson opined that the likes of Dele Alli are being made to play too much football due to the amount of money currently in the game.
The former Reds youth coach told the Blood Red Podcast (as relayed by the Liverpool Echo), “I think to succeed at that level you’ve got to be single-minded, at certain times you’ve got to have an attitude or arrogance in some ways. That’s not a bad arrogance, it’s a good arrogance that you need to cope and play at the top level.
“Obviously Dele is going through a bit more of a difficult time at his moment but he’s someone who’s only 23 and has played nearly 300 games at the top level.
“The one thing I do worry about for Trent, and for Dele and for all the young English players is we’re getting so money-driven. These players are playing far too much for their age. It’s scary how much football they are actually playing.
“The problem is the better they become and the better they play the more people want to see them and the more they become a commodity and the more that’s the case it will affect their game and it’s not their fault. They’re only obliging to contracts people are signing for them.
“I remember Steve Heighway famously saying to us as young coaches that when we finish in the summer our young players should go away and play a different sport and almost leave the sport for at least 3-4 weeks.
“I’ve always remembered and something I’ve always said to my players if they do get a break, try and stay away from the industry because it allows you to recharge and go again.”
Robinson was critical of the administrators and accused those in charge of running the game of not caring enough about the physical and mental stresses that players are put under.
He added, “Don’t forget there are a lot of people sat at the top of these trees earning a lot of money because of what we do in this industry.
“They don’t care about how much football we play, they don’t care about the well-being of these players, they don’t care about the mental health of managers and staff, they don’t care about the financial output of fans.
“It’s ridiculous. We’re an entertainment industry, which we get, but I was speaking to someone the other day and Olympic athletes who are seen as the greatest athletes on the planet, who train for four years to perform once.
“At some stage, there’s going to be a drop-off in performance because of it. All of a sudden the players will get the blame for it, but the people at the top who are earning all the money, no one will ever speak about them or question them publicly.
“People may listen and said ‘it’s just football’ but when you’re travelling, and you prepare for three days for any game and the mental fatigue that comes along with that at the top level is phenomenal and mind-blowing. We’ve got kids and wives and families as well.
“Okay, the money in the industry is phenomenal but the output these people put in they are at 100%, 100% of the time and we all know there’s a burnout in that.
“There’s a mental burnout and there’s a physical burnout. If people want to pay and put prices on these tickets we’ve got to make sure our players are at 100% when they perform.
“Over the last five years it’s just become phenomenal and the better you are, the more you play.”
Spurs Web Opinion
There is no doubt that there is too much football being played at the moment but all big clubs have now acquired massive squads in order to cope with the stresses of the season. While the players can certainly become mentally fatigued at having to travel and compete so often, it is up to the managers to use their squad wisely and realize when some players need to be rested.
Have something to tell us about this article?