Wiegman: Schedule is ‘too much’ for top players

England manager Sarina Wiegman has criticised the scheduling of top-level women’s football, saying the top players are being forced to play too much.

There has been a series of serious injuries sustained by players this year. Euros 2022 golden boot winner Beth Mead is a potential doubt for next year’s World Cup after rupturing her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in November. Mead’s partner and Arsenal teammate Vivanne Miedema suffered the same injury against Lyon last week in the Women’s Champions League.

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Wiegman encouraged the idea of players being given more rest in a bid for improved player welfare.

“In general for the top, top level players, the schedule is too much,” she said. “After the Euros for example, the Manchester City players only had a couple of days off because they went into Champions League. That’s not good.

“You can have that sometimes but they need a rest. I think FIFA, UEFA and the federations, we just need to do a little better job and all think of the players.

“It’s so sad, I really feel for her [Mead]. It’s too early to say whether she will be [fit for the World Cup], so we just take it easy now, first recover, and then over the next months we’ll see how it will develop. She knows she gets all the support from Arsenal, us and the FA.”

FIFA confirmed last week the size of the women’s squads at the 2023 World Cup will be 23 players, as opposed to the 26 permitted at the men’s tournament in Qatar.

Wiegman, in favour of a 26-player squad, was unhappy with the ruling.

“It’s very disappointing,” she said. “We’ve been told that there had been some that did not want it to increase.

“But the group of coaches I talked with all wanted it to increase. We will still take some extra players to Australia with us [before the tournament] in case we have any injuries.”

Wiegman’s England won the Euros in the summer to end a 56-year drought of senior international silverware.

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