I saw Gary Neville saying something about players would play games every day for nine days if they had to when the football season eventually resumes. Well, I think Gary is quite right in a certain way because Gary’s quite old school in his way of thinking. He would, I would.
To be perfectly honest, players in the Championship and below would quite easily play three games a week and not moan. If, at the start of a 38-week playing season, you were told you would have to play three times a week, those players would get on with it.
World Cup
Keane blasts 'terrible' England as Neville questions Southgate's decision-making
A DAY AGO
Premier League clubs moan about it because they think they’ve got a right to moan, but at the end of the day players will play games of football. But the problem is, managers will be putting it into players’ heads that they’re tired and they can’t work; that they can’t play football when they’re tired.
They take blood tests to tell people they’re tired in football. What a load of rubbish! You’re inside your hotel room and your adrenaline tells you that you want to play because you want to try and win a game of football and progress. Players can play football and yes, they will get injured when they’re tired and managers can say: ‘He’s tired he could get a strain’.
Man goes to work in a foundry and he’s tired and all of sudden, he kind of falls asleep and he bangs his head. But then he thinks: ‘Oh, where am I? I’ve got a bit of a headache’. Man wakes up in the morning and he decides he has to go to work because he has a family to feed.
As far as I’m concerned, you can’t play football being 100 per cent every single game. It’s impossible to do it and get a whole team like it because you don’t know mentally how everyone is.
We saw the Champions League final last season which was awful when both teams [Liverpool and Tottenham] had nearly three weeks off beforehand. They were off the pace and had lost momentum.
All these 25 physios now in a dressing room telling people they’re not feeling well and they’re injured and their body’s tired and they shouldn’t be doing this or that. Footballers want to go out and play.

'United to gazump Liverpool and sign Coutinho' - Euro Papers

THE PREMIER LEAGUE SEASON HAS TO FINISH

I personally think whatever’s started has to be finished, and I agree with the Premier League wanting to finish the season. I don’t care that it’s a foregone conclusion that Liverpool are going to win the league, because that’s irrelevant. It’s the rest that matters, the relegation and the promotion.
People accept it when teams don’t make it through the play-offs. We’ve seen the tears, adulation and everything that goes with losing or winning a play-off game.
Games have to be played. You can’t make a quick-fix decision because it’s not going to suit a lot of people.
If your team doesn’t get promoted off the back of a game not being played and we start from scratch, then it’s going to affect people who just want things done realistically and correctly and that is to allow the season to finish and have the opportunity to make or break their season and their lives as well.
It has to go ahead.

Jürgen Klopp - FC Liverpool

Image credit: Getty Images

I FEAR LOWER-LEAGUE CLUBS COULD GO UNDER DUE TO THE CORONAVIRUS

Football’s been made the pinnacle by everybody and been used as a focal point during this crisis, but the problem it’s all being talked about at Premier League level.
We seem to have forgotten about real football which is not Premier League. That’s not real, that’s fantasy football.
I’m talking about footballers who really can’t afford to have the coronavirus affect things because of what it means for them to play football. It is actually their life and they’ll all be concerned for their mortgages and everything that goes with it. That’s the bit that grates with me, more than anything.
But more than anything, clubs, especially in the non-league, could die
When people talk about no Premier League, well what about ones who rely on football, have put their life into it? I relate to this because I started in the lower leagues and I managed in non-leagues and I feel sorry for them.
It’s all well and good a lot of these Premier League clubs not getting their gate receipts, but they’re still earning off everything that goes with them as a club with their marketing tools. But if you think about a lot of the clubs in the Football League and the National League, their income comes from what comes through the door. By them not playing, it affects them, it affects a lot of players, some of whom are part time.
But more than anything, clubs, especially in the non-league, could die. Football clubs relate to the community. So when all this clears up, great; everyone’s well and everyone’s fine. But a major factor in a community could be that their football club’s gone.
These clubs need help from somewhere, but I don’t know how it can be done fairly.

Nicolas Pepe of Arsenal takes on Gaetano Berardi and Ezgjan Alioski of Leeds United during the FA Cup Third Round match between Arsenal FC and Leeds United at the Emirates Stadium on January 06, 2020

Image credit: Getty Images

TALK OF PLAYING BEHIND CLOSED DOORS IS PREMATURE

I think we’ve jumped into a panic mode already, to be perfectly honest, talking about finishing games behind closed doors. If that’s what the authorities think they need to do for football to be played, then yes, do it. But I think we’re putting on Band-Aids a little too early and it’s all talk.
Of course it’s a problem playing behind closed doors as players want adulation. They want to show off and want people to show how good they’re playing.
So they will miss that and it does take away from a game without a shadow of a doubt.

THE CARABAO CUP MUST NOT BE SCRAPPED IF NEXT SEASON STARTS LATER

If you’re a club and you don’t want to be in the League Cup, you should resign from it if next season starts later. If it’s your club and you feel your poor little footballers are going to get tired, you pull them out.
I tell you what, if you’re a lower-division club, you want every single game, especially if it gives you the opportunity to play a game at home because you can earn money.
It’s a different choice if all the big clubs don’t want to because they’re worried about being tired. They’ve got loads of money, and they keep telling everyone it’s a squad game.
Use your squads: Don’t take all 20-odd of them away abroad on a break and tell them they need a rest when they haven’t done anything. Then you’ve got under-23s, you’ve got young players who can help.
But allow the lower league clubs to have games of football and the opportunity to play against you as a big team.

Jason Cummings of Shrewsbury Town celebrates victory wearing a blow-up crown during the FA Cup Fourth Round match between Shrewsbury Town and Liverpool at New Meadow on January 26, 2020 in Shrewsbury, England

Image credit: Getty Images

They can get a replay, like Shrewsbury Town did against Liverpool in the FA Cup this year. Don’t take that away and allow this to be an excuse to get rid of cup competitions.
Those cups are there for a reason. My first-ever medal was a League Cup. I just think it’s just absolutely disgraceful now we’re getting all these managers all coming out and wanting to dictate to our leagues what we should not be doing any more lower-league clubs should be able to enjoy the experience of playing against top teams and top players in an amazing stadium.
World Cup
Ronaldo says he is 'bullet proof', addresses reported rift with Fernandes in surprise press briefing
21/11/2022 AT 08:14
World Cup
'He's a terrible face for football' - Neville hits out at FIFA president Infantino
20/11/2022 AT 22:33