Injuries the only legacy from nonsense friendlies

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A number of clubs have paid a heavy price for last night’s meaningless international at Wembley.


Chelsea and Liverpool will be rueing the injuries picked up by Daniel Sturridge and Steven Gerrard.


Sturridge came on as sub for Gerrard after half an hour because the Reds captain felt a twinge in his hamstring, while the younger man had to substituted near the end with a swollen toe.


However, Manchester United will be the most worried after Chris Smalling was hospitalised with a deep gash in his head following an aerial challenge with Klaas Jan Huntelaar.


There is no indication that either the Chelsea striker or the Liverpool midfielder will miss their respective fixtures this weekend, but it is hardly ideal preparation for the two clubs.


There has not been further news on Smalling but the fact that he had to be stretchered off and taken to hospital would suggest he is unlikely to feature this Sunday at Tottenham Hotspur, especially considering it was a head injury.


The initial reaction is to hope that none of these injuries are too serious – Huntelaar was also taken to hospital as a precaution – but then you start to wonder if it was actually worth it?


GMF have made their view on mid-season international friendlies known, and the knocks reported after the latest nonsense fixture vindicate some of the views expressed in those previous comments.


It would be safe to assume that Sir Alex Ferguson, Kenny Dalglish and Andre Villas-Boas will be none too pleased that their players have suffered because they were asked to take part in a game that had no meaning or merit.


What can Stuart Pearce, or anybody else in the England hierarchy for that matter, have possibly learned from the 3-2 defeat at the hands of a vastly superior Netherlands side?


The pace in the first half was excruciatingly slow, with neither side particularly willing to up the pace in any discernible manner – it was as though the outcome of this fixture they were involved in was unimportant.


However, there were elements of competitiveness and Holland’s second goal – where Smalling and Huntelaar were injured – was a well-won header from an enticing cross.


The only reason there was any great interest in the game was down to the situation regarding the next permanent England manager, and who it could be.


Pearce is in temporary charge but has openly said he does not believe he is ready to become full-time manager.

So it has been assumed a more permanent replacement is expected to be installed ahead of the European Championships this summer.


This only makes the significance of the event shrink further still, as there is no guarantee the new manager will want to pick any of the players on show and could have completely different ideas to Pearce.


It is no the fault of the usual boss of England’s Under-21 side, he has been given an awkward task, but it baffles as to why players are risked at such a crucial point in the season.


The FA would have made some money out of the game, but that is probably the only thing gained from it.


The supporters have paid for expensive tickets to see two international sides not give 100 percent and a few clubs have paid for it with the fitness of their players.

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Premier League
Manchester United
Daniel Sturridge
Steven Gerrard

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