Everton manager David Moyes has hit out at football's unrelenting calendar as his squad's injury problems continue to mount.
Moyes has confirmed striker Louis Saha's fears that the Toffees' top goalscorer is likely to miss the rest of the season after an ankle operation. Saha, scorer of 10 goals this term, was injured in the Barclays Premier League win over Fulham a fortnight ago and joins two other key players in Mikel Arteta and Marouane Fellaini on the sidelines.
With debate raging over the merits of this week's international friendlies and whether established senior players such as Arsenal's Jack Wilshere should still play in the Under-21s, Moyes feels the top players are being overworked, saying: "To have a friendly at this stage of the season is difficult."
He added: "I understand why the national teams want them but we are into the last six or seven weeks of the season and you can see the amount of injuries players are having, probably on the back of the World Cup and other international tournaments.
"I think that is why you are probably seeing so many injuries if you look around the Premier League.
"People are probably not getting to see the best players right now because the football is taking its toll on them.
"They are all involved in so much football and they need a break."
Moyes feels so strongly about the situation he admits it has even tempered his natural pride at seeing his defenders Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines play for England this week.
The Everton pair both started Tuesday's draw with Ghana at Wembley and at least came through unscathed.
Moyes said: "I do take a lot of pride because I want them to be selected for their country, but I am beginning to doubt if that is what I want. I am just beginning to look and say, 'Is it worth it?'."
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