Wigan manager Roberto Martinez calls for change to international break

 

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez has called for a change to the international break format ahead of Saturday's Barclays Premier League clash with Manchester United at Old Trafford.

The Latics boss is faced with a difficult couple of days ahead of one of the toughest fixtures of the season and only has a short space of time to assess his squad after 2014 World Cup qualification duty.

Defender Antolin Alcaraz suffered a leg injury during Paraguay's 2-0 defeat by Venezuela and is set to only arrive back at the club this afternoon - less than 48 hours ahead of kick-off.

Martinez believes the international break needs to be revisited in order to get the right balance between international and club fixtures otherwise the Premier League will suffer.

"I don't like the international break, I've said it many, many times," Martinez said.

"This is another example. We've got 48 hours to go to one of the biggest games of our league competition and we don't even know what kind of squad we can count on. That's for ourselves, that's for Manchester United.

"As a whole, I don't think that's a healthy position for any team to be in when trying to put on a good display for the fans in what we consider to be the best league in the world."

With another international break due next month, Martinez knows he has to be prepared for further disruption to his league campaign, but the Spaniard believes the format needs to be reassessed as it is to the detriment of the players.

"It's something that you need to adapt to but it doesn't make it right," Martinez said.

"It's trying to change a bad situation for the players into a positive one. "I don't think that's right and it's unfair on the players.

"The answer should be playing the games with a longer recovery time before you play your next game. There are ways.

"I know it's a happy medium or a happy balance between the demands at club level and representing your national team.

"We want our players to play for their countries because it's great for us as football club and it's great for the players as it's a unique experience, but it's an area we need to look after the players and understand if you're going to fly for 10 hours, 48 hours before a proper game in the Premier League, it can't be the right preparation."

When asked if this weekend's games should all be played on Sunday to give players an extra 24 hours of rest and recovery time, Martinez added: "I don't think that's down to us. It's a concern for FIFA.

"I think it's time now that we are looking after our players. We want top football being played week in, week out and to do that we need to allow the players to recover and to cope with the demands and that's something the top organisations need to look into.

"I don't think the international break is done in a good way to look after the players.

"There are many ways you can change it but it is a matter that has to be changed. You can't carry on like this."

However, Martinez admitted the break has been beneficial to some of his side who have not been representing their country.

Midfielder James McArthur remained at the club and has made good progress with a back problem while striker Ryo Miyaichi, who is on loan from Arsenal, has been able to work on his match fitness.

Martinez said: "His [McArthur's] reaction and the way he has reacted to treatment is very good.

"Him and Ryo Miyaichi have benefited from having time in the training ground and time to work with his team.

"There's been some positive examples but they're players who haven't been involved with the international teams."

PA

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