The international players’ organization has sounded the alarm for a long time. Young footballers now come home from national team meetings with more or less serious injuries.
Published: 20/11/2023 22:47
“Who really hurt Gift?”
The question is asked by Raul Varela, one of Marcas MarcasSpain’s largest sports newspaper sports commentators.
Barcelona fans did not like what they saw during the international match between Spain and Georgia on Sunday.
Their own jewel Gavi suddenly grimaced and was clearly in pain. Later came word that the cruciate ligament of the 19-year-old has been torn. The season is over for the great talent.
The reason for Varela’s question is about playing time and the use of particularly young players. He points out that young players such as Gavi, Vincius Jr. and Ansu Fati Ansu FatiWas seen early on as one of the world’s greatest talents when he broke through in Barcelona. Has been affected by injuries and plays today in Brighton. have suffered an unnecessary number of injuries due to overuse at a young age.
1 out of 4Photo: CESAR MANSO / AFP / NTB
19-year-old Gavi has been on the field in 81 games since the start of last season. It is numbers that make Torstein Dalen-Lorentsen react.
– Of course it is a lot. If you survive that exposure without damage, you will be both skilled, but above all incredibly lucky. It is right at the limit of what the human body can withstand without being injured, says Dalen-Lorentsen to VG.
He is a research leader at Sintef Digital, with a PhD in the connection between training load and injuries in football.
– In purely statistical terms, research has reported up to 50 injuries per thousand hours played. If we use Gavi’s numbers as a basis, he has played almost a hundred hours and will normally get around five injuries in these hours of football matches, he says.
The players’ association FIFPro published an in-depth report this summer about the ever-increasing match schedule and the impact it has on young players.
FIFPro pointed to figures that say players today reach a certain number of minutes played much faster than players did in the past:
- At the age of 20, Pedri had played 25 percent more than Xavi had done at the same age.
- Kylian Mbappé had played 48 percent more than Thierry Henry at the age of 24.
- At the age of 20, Jude Bellingham had played 30 percent more than Wayne Rooney at the same time.
– A downside of overexposure at a young age is the risk of becoming mentally burnt out. Another potential problem concerns the length of the career, with injuries and wear and tear often affecting these players at an earlier stage in their career, FIFPro wrote in its report.
Gavi is not alone. PSG have to manage without their great talent Warren Zaïre Emery (17) after an ankle injury in the 14-0 game for France against Gibraltar.
Erling Braut Haaland (23) had to sit out the international match against Scotland after the blow against the Faroe Islands on Sunday. Since then it has been debated whether he should have played that game or not.
Dalen-Lorentsen believes it is a non-debate.
– The fact that Haaland lands strangely and gets a bang in the ankle probably has nothing to do with how much match load he has, other than that just playing matches means that you are exposed to a slightly higher risk of injury than if you don’t play. In the same way that you can’t crash your car if you don’t drive it, he says.
Then he thinks it is far more problematic that young players like Gavi and Pedri play 70-80 games in the course of a year.
– What I think people don’t think about is that there is no one who wants Gavi to be injured less than Barcelona. With a cruciate ligament injury, his market value drops and causes an immediate loss of several hundred million kroner. In that sense, the clubs should think more long-term and keep a player injury-free. It is best for development and for the value of the player, he says.
Dalen-Lorentsen works particularly with the prevention of injuries in football, and refers to what he calls a “very conflict of interest”.
- – The marketing department is rubbing its hands over getting five matches in Asia in the summer where they can show off the best players.
- – Barcelona think that “he is our player and we can use him when it suits us”.
- – Then it comes to the international date and then it is the national team that decides. They can shit in Barcelona if they want.
– Who will hold back is difficult to answer, because no one has an incentive to do so, says Dalen-Lorentsen.