Stuart Dallas has suggested that it is “ridiculous” that Leeds United players will be expected to feature in international matches less than a week after an international break.
The full-back is likely to feature for Northern Ireland next Friday when they travel to face Romania in the UEFA Nations League, before competing against Belgium in Belfast three days later.
Marcelo Bielsa’s men then kick off their long-awaited top flight return against Liverpool on September 12th.
And Dallas has slammed the hectic schedule.
Speaking to BBC Sportsound, he said: “I just can’t help but feel these games shouldn’t be played. I don’t know if that’s controversial or not, but I think it’s disrupting everything.
“It’s ridiculous [that the 2020-21 Premier League season is starting less than a week after the international break].
“Especially with what’s going on throughout the world with travel restrictions and all the rules with quarantine. Obviously the risk of the virus is high. For me, it’s silly, it shouldn’t be played.
“For the English leagues, it’s coming at the most ridiculous time. We have players who might not return until Wednesday or Thursday, that’s two days before Liverpool – it’s madness that they have to do this.”
We’re inclined to agree with Dallas on this one.
Given everything that has passed in recent months, and the stringent measures that have been taken to ensure that professional football does not turn into an incubator for the spread of the virus, it seems a little unnecessary to resume international football so near to the start of a new domestic campaign.
While widespread testing for players would hopefully mean that any passing of the virus would be detected and quelled at the root, there is still the fact that any player who did catch it would have to isolate for a considerable period of time.
If a player returns from Europe on Thursday and is found to have contracted Covid-19, there is no way that they will be able to feature on that weekend, and may even miss the game afterwards too.
Best case scenario, that puts their team at an immediate disadvantage. Worst case scenario, the whole team has to isolate and they cannot play their scheduled fixtures, as we’ve seen with Celtic and Aberdeen up in Scotland in recent weeks.
With that in mind, Dallas is absolutely right – to play these matches in the current circumstances at this precise moment in time is bordering on reckless.
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