Gareth Southgate will not know whether to laugh or cry. In the space of 3 weeks that the England boss has seen Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford hit by injuries which will sideline them for three weeks at least.
The news is bad. Not great for Tottenham and Manchester United, that is, however, the same can’t be said when considering the Three Lions’ chances of winning Euro 2020 this summer.
Let us be clear, nobody wants to see two wonderful talents injured. The season will be a lot poorer without them. However, Southgate could be forgiven for believing the sidelining of two of the most important stars could prove to be a boon.
When Kane led England to the 2018 World Cup in Russia he’d played 53 games for club and country. He concluded that campaign on July 14 but was back in a shirt for the opening game of the next year on August 11.
A season where he went on to create another 49 appearances, led Spurs into the Champions League final and finished it at the Nations League on June 9.
But Kane is not alone in the barbarous variety of games he plays in return for earning phone numbers in salary.
Confusion surrounds the timescale of Rashford’s most current accident but it feels ironic his spine is broken considering he’s been carrying United for the previous 12 months and beyond.
Eight games in 28 days and over 11 hours of football from a potential 13-and-a-half.
Rashford remains only 22 but has surpassed 200 appearances for United, won 38 England caps and played in two significant tournaments already.
In recent times he’s become a victim of his own talent and United’s desperation to win football games but valuable lessons are currently being learned about the risks of turning our biggest and best players into glorified workhorses.
Rashford must look at himself and be honest.
Nobody understands his body as he does and he wants to understand how to put himself instead of the team.
He should have known he was not right to keep on playing after undergoing back pain against Burnley on December 28.
However, Pep Guardiola said it. The workload of English soccer will ruin our own odds of winning a big tournament this summer.
He’s got a valid point. But Southgate might be taking a look at the up facet of a situation, he’s powerless to change.
Not so much a winter break, a sabbatical in the relentless and possibly ruinous program of domestic football.
Provided medical specialists can be trusted, both are back before the season ends with time to hone their game fitness and games ahead of what promises to be a demanding championship for Southgate.
Every cloud has a silver lining and if a fresh and fit Kane and Rashford can to re England to Euro glory subsequently Southgate will have struck gold.