RENOWNED fitness guru Raymond Verheijen has branded England boss Roy Hodgson “stupid” for dismissing medical evidence which suggests explosive players such as Raheem Sterling require a two-day recovery period after matches.
Liverpool winger Sterling has been at the centre of a club versus country storm since complaining of fatigue ahead of England’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Estonia in Tallinn on Sunday evening.
Hodgson has since questioned the Anfield club’s training regime which sees players only taking part in a full session three days after playing – a system devised to give those with pace additional recovery time.
“I don’t think there is medical evidence to support the two-day recovery,” said Hodgson.
But Verheijen, who has worked with Barcelona, Chelsea and Manchester City as well as alongside the late Gary Speed as Wales’ assistant manager, believes the approach of Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is vindicated while Hodgson is living in the past.
“Roy Hodgson is denying the fact that fast muscle fibres recover slower, he makes himself look so stupid,” Verheijen told City A.M. “Explosive players recover slower compared to less explosive players and therefore need longer after the game.
“What is the effect of fatigue on the body? If you accumulate fatigue, your nerve system becomes slower. The signal from your brain to your muscles travels slower and arrives later.
“So you are making explosive football actions like sprinting, shooting, landing, turning with a slower nerve system. It means you are vulnerable as you have less control of your body.”
Since the beginning of last season, 19-year-old Sterling has clocked up 4,014 minutes of competitive football, the most by some distance of any Premier League teeneaner.
Full-back Luke Shaw is second with 3,628, followed by Nathan Redmond and Ross Barkley, who both turned 20 last term.
Verheijen argues given his age, Sterling is still adjusting to high-tempo professional football and simply cannot cope with the volume of games that more developed players can, with an increased likelihood of injury the consequence of fatigue.
“When you are 19 you’re not fully matured so your fitness level is also lower than when you are a mature man of 24, you develop fatigue earlier,” he added. “Sterling’s workload is almost the same [as his England team-mates], but his fitness level is lower which means he’ll develop more fatigue.”
Joe Hall, Ross McLean