It’s that time again.
For the second time this season, the players take a break from the league table to make an impact for their home countries. Although, this time around it is more than just some friendlies but qualifiers for the World Cup that takes place in Russia in the upcoming summer.
A month ago, we discussed the impression international friendlies or qualifiers has from a fan’s perspective. But to really cover all the bases, it’s only fair to try and understand the effect international football has on the players themselves.
Although we don’t know the life of a football player, some things just appear to be clear to any observer or fan.
For starters, the constant play of a high-intensity sport such as football requires at least some aspect of physical greatness. Now we could compare every player to the animalistic traits of Cristiano Ronaldo or Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but that wouldn’t get us anywhere. But there has to be some sort of way to look at how the continuous career of a player takes effect on their bodies.
1.Wear and tear
Simple as that.
It is quite apparent that the physical expectations of football takes its toll on players, understandably so. While everybody’s body is different, it’s interesting to see those differences. While some players can play at club level for an exceptionally long time others seem to show age before really getting there.
A very good example of this would be Welsh great, Gareth Bale.
Gareth Bale began his international career for Wales’ under-17 team in 2005. The next year he was called up to the senior squad for Premier League side, Southampton. For him, that is twelve years of competitive, high-level football. Also unfortunately for him, that has meant a number of injuries (mostly those of the calf) that have, of course, had an effect on his career.
Being a 28-year old and playing for the best current club in the world, Bale would be expected to be at the peak of his career and at moments he shows this. But his constant injury time sees him missing chunks seasonal play for the past couple years.
Now many believe this is due to his highly intense, powerful, and speedy style which can be true. But a lot of it could be involved with not getting the proper rehabilitation and rest time, which can go further into playing for both a club and country full time.
Nonetheless, there is always the comparability of players and many have the same role for both sides such as Gareth Bale but have proven to be at peak health or physicality.
Resulting in something we already know, that every player’s body and health is different.
2. The stress of playing or wanting to play for both club and country
It’s safe to say that everybody knows what a huge honour it is to play for your country on a competitive level. Besides making it to a top club, it is every footballer’s dream to be called up to the senior squad on an international level for a major competition.
So does this take a toll on the players?
Again, nobody can really know these things nor is this trying to be psychological but things appear to be obvious.
And again, understandably so, the life and decisions of a footballer are definitely not easy.
International football has just as big as an effect of a player’s career and achievements just as much as club football does. With player’s performances constantly being watched, while statistical battles have always been either won or lost, the stress of doing everything as a footballer could be immense.
Which just comes down to one question; when is it all worth it?
During this dual parted series, we’ve talked about the many aspects of international football. The effects on fans and even the players themselves. And realistically, if you read back to article one, many of these points either add up or heavily relate to one another.
International football will always, in some form, be great.
But there will always be some sort of issue towards it and the process of how it is run and perhaps one day that could be changed but for now,
That is football.