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Friday, 13 November 2015

A medical misunderstanding

A medical misunderstanding

I read an article in Vital Spurs where the writers is 'annoyed' that Nabil Bentaleb, Clinton Njie and Heung-min Son had gone on international duty. Nabil Bentaleb he reminds us has been out since 29th August, Heung-min Son has only just returned from six weeks out and Clinton Njie has also been injured.

He says Spurs may welcome Njie getting game time, but seriously questions why Spurs allowed the other players to go on international duty. Presumably they are unaware that Spurs don't have a choice, it is not up to Spurs whether a player is selected for his country or not and no club can stop a player from being called up or playing. 

Yes, Ryan Giggs was mysteriously injured every time Wales had a friendly game, yes managers talk to international managers and try to put them off calling up players, but clubs have invented injuries so often that they can not be believed. Now the medical staff of an international side assess a players fitness and they are the ones who decide whether they are fit enough to be a part of their national set-up or not.

There have been no murmurings from Spurs about Bentaleb being called up and he was selected over a week ago by Algeria Spurs will have discussed his situation with Algeria. He has been training with Spurs but is not yet match fit, it should be remembered that match fit for Spurs is a greater level of fitness than it is for others and that to get match fit he will need cameo roles first. That may well be provided by Algeria, he doesn't start every game and I think there has been an assumption that his selection means guaranteed selection. I wrote as soon as he was selected that it was a welcome thing, that he needed it, that hopefully he will get some game time and nearer to match fitness. I see nothing to change that view.

The only reservations Pochettino has mentioned is to Heung-min Son who has been fit enough for two cameo substitute appearances. His words were no doubt in answer to a specific question and were given prior to his being called up. Pochettino made it clear the players situation would be discussed with South Korea and the fact that one of their star players played only 27 minutes as a substitute shows they took note of our concerns.

If he is fit enough to come on as a substitute then he is fit enough to play longer, the problem really is playing two games in a short space of time. Fatigue causes injuries so even after only a camel the player needs rest and recuperation time. It must be remembered that he is a star player, he is the one the crowd want to see so being a part of any international is important to him and to South Korea.

There is more to the matter than simply the fitness of a player, but let's be clear a club can not withdraw a player from international duty only that nation's medical staff can determine fitness levels. Club medical staff talk to the international medical staff of course so the vast majority of the time there isn't an issue. With Heung-min Son an issue has been created out of nothing really, his two substitute appearances suggest he is fit enough to play some part for his country, his substitute appearance shows they have taken not and managed his game time. There really is nothing to be annoyed about.

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