England coach Sarina Wigman said she was “very concerned” about the fixture schedule after naming her squad for this month’s Women’s Nations League double-header.
The Lionesses return to action after losing the World Cup final on August 20, taking on Scotland in Sunderland a week later on Friday and the Netherlands in Utrecht four days later to open their campaign in the new competition.
The Arsenal players in her squad – striker Alessia Russo and defender Lotte Wubben-Moy – took part in the Champions League qualifiers last Wednesday and Saturday.
Wiegman, whose players began preparing for the World Cup on June 19, said at a press conference on Wednesday when asked if she was worried about the calendar and free time: “Yes, I am very worried.
“I love playing in finals. Our players too. But it starts next week, so let’s get a good start first.” pic.twitter.com/kmlnmYARmY
— Lionesses (@Lionesses) September 13, 2023
“I was worried before the World Cup and we knew it was a very short period.
“It’s more than that – we’re all talking about the calendar and we really need to communicate with FIFA, UEFA, the federations and we need to do it better.
“Of course the game is growing and that’s really good. But he needs to heal, and the players also need rest.
“They’re coming in next week and some of the players have only had six days off, which is not good for them after competing at such a high level and high pressure. And this has been going on for a long time, because in the summer we constantly have major tournaments. Therefore, the urgency to solve this problem and improve it is very high indeed.
“The players will come and we first need to see how they are physically, we need to get them fit and do everything for that. It won’t be easy.
“Of course you have a team and you want to perform at the highest level and you also want the players to be fresh. For me and my staff, it’s a balance between two questions: Is this player prepared and fresh enough to play this game? It’s balance, it’s so intense, and the players aren’t robots.”
She added: “I talked to the coaches. I think everyone knows that we need to talk to each other and we can do better, and we all know that it’s quite difficult.
“But I think the conversations are ongoing and we just need to keep doing it and hopefully find better solutions than we had.”