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Sheffield United: Anxiety begins over international stars’ fitness ahead of seismic promotion push UK News

The Blades boss has asked players he has given time off during the upcoming international break to ‘switch off’ and, as close as his connection to his team is, he hopes he won’t hear of any d ‘between them.

The ridiculous pile-up of games took a physical toll, as United’s remarkable injury record shows, but also required a remarkable amount of mental and psychological commitment. To cross the barrier of pain. In some cases, raising your hand and volunteering to play when not in top form. In the language of football, “start again”.

But the United manager will be forgiven for keeping more than one eye on certain games throughout the break, despite managing some time away from the world of football. Namely these internationals who will see certain members of his squad travel around the world to represent their country. Some in important matches. Some a little less.

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Far be it from me to tell people like Conor Hourihane, Sander Berge and John Egan that any international match for their country is irrelevant. All three are fiercely patriotic and, ordinarily, I am a strong supporter of players leaving with their country during the break, even taking into account the obvious risks of injury and fatigue.

But this is no ordinary situation and Heckingbottom, like most Blades fans, will surely be on the lookout and check his phone for news, or lack thereof, on the fitness of the six senior players who will represent their country in the next fifteen days.

Rhys Norrington-Davies and Adam Davies are on duty in Wales for their huge play-off against Austria, while Morgan Gibbs-White will be hoping to carry forward the England U21s’ push for the Euros against Andorra and Albania.

John Egan and Conor Hourihane, left, are two Sheffield United players on international duty for the next fortnight (Oisin Keniry/Getty Images)

But would Berge have been better suited with a fortnight off, following his recent and well-managed comeback from injury which saw him explode in front of goal?

Will Republic of Ireland boss Stephen Kenny learn much more about Hourihane and Egan as they face Belgium and then Lithuania?

The answers, from United’s perspective, are obvious, and it was interesting to hear a former Blades player recently suggest that in his day players would simply be banned from traveling amid such a perilous injury crisis. . Sorry, son, but you’re our player and we need you.

The world and the game have evolved, of course. But United simply cannot afford any further fitness issues if they are to continue their remarkable promotion push.

Without wishing to be overly dramatic, United’s return to the Premier League this season is seismic, in terms of the future of this football club, and there will be enormous anxiety amongst managers by next Thursday morning. .

That’s when the Blades’ international stars – along with young talents like Daniel Jebbison and Kacper Lopata – return to United’s training base at Shirecliffe. Hopefully, for so many reasons, in one piece.

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This notice was published: 2022-03-22 05:00:00

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