Sport

‘Help the players’: Wigan Athletic’s Roberto Martinez wants international fixtures schedule change

By Michael Kelleher

Wigan Athletic boss Roberto Martinez has called on FIFA to amend the schedule for international fixtures to ease demands on players.

The Spaniard is concerned that players are not afforded sufficient recovery time following international games which puts them at a disadvantage when lining out for their clubs.

Wigan had Maynor Figueroa in action for Honduras in their World Cup Qualifier against Canada while Jean Beausejour was in action for Chile in Santiago as they took on Argentina – both long trips across the Atlantic Ocean.

“I do feel we need to help the players a little bit more,” Martinez said.

“Sometimes it’s just making an extra day for them to recover, taking the travelling into consideration, and probably that’s something that can be addressed over the next few months.

“We expect the players to perform in every game and I think it’s a bit unfair to be expected to cope with a game on a Tuesday night in Santiago, a 14-hour flight and then be in pristine condition for a game 48 hours later – it is just impossible.

“I think the big authorities should look into the clashing fixtures.

“I don’t think there is enough recovery time between the international matches and the next league game.”

Martinez is confident however that his side are in good shape ahead of their trip to the Liberty Stadium to take on former club Swansea City today.

Paraguayan centre-half Antolin Alcaraz remains out with a groin injury but is nearing a return while winger Albert Crusat is out with a knee problem.

“The players that were involved are used to playing a lot and their fitness levels are very good,” Martinez explained.

“The players that didn’t go away with national teams have got a lot out of the two weeks and have been able to work hard a refresh themselves.

“The focus now is to get as many points as possible for Wigan Athletic, and the only injury concern we have had is with Antolin Alcaraz and these two weeks have been very good in his rehabilitation period.

“We expect Antolin to come back within the next two weeks because he has already been doing some work with the team and has joined the group a lot earlier than we expected.”

Wigan, in 15th place, are three points, four places behind Swansea in the Premier League table.

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