LONDON (Reuters) - England’s players will struggle with fatigue at next month’s World Cup in Russia because of the demands of their domestic season, former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson told the BBC on Thursday.
The Swede, who managed England at the 2002 and 2006 World Cups and Euro 2004, said the lack of a mid-season break was the reason why England regularly under-performed at major international tournaments.
“If you play in the Premier League, you play a lot of games,” he said. “There’s two big domestic cups, most England players play in Europe and the league is tough. That’s OK, but the big problem is not having a break.
“That’s the biggest reason why England struggle to make a big impact in big tournaments.”
England boss Gareth Southgate named a youthful squad for the World Cup and Eriksson believes there are plenty of goals in the side.
“I like the squad,” he said. “There are a lot of young players, hungry players that want to show what they can do.
“I like the strikers because they can do things on their own, they have pace and they can score goals. I’m very curious to see how they will do. On the counter-attack, having those players available can be very, very dangerous.
“I hope they can go further than I did and reach a semi-final. If so, everything is possible. I hope for Southgate and the players, but especially for the country and the fans. It would be great for them to have a team going further than the quarter-finals.”
England play friendlies against Nigeria and Costa Rica on June 2 and June 7 before leaving for Russia where they are in World Cup Group G along with Belgium, Panama and Tunisia.
Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond