Friday, February 28, 2014
Chris Hughton aims to be at his persuasive best to protect his international stars ahead of Norwich City’s crucial Premier League finale.
The Canaries’ boss admits next week’s latest round of friendlies could not come at a worse time, with up to 11 of his squad potentially linking up with their respective countries.
John Ruddy has been named as one of four goalkeepers in a 30-man squad for England’s friendly against Denmark whilst Nathan Redmond is in the Under-21s squad for their European Championship qualifier against Wales.
Nigeria’s Joseph Yobo will head to America to face Mexico, with Scottish trio Robert Snodgrass, Russell Martin and Steven Whittaker departing for Poland. Hughton could also wave goodbye to Alex Tettey in addition to Wes Hoolahan and Anthony Pilkington plus his two Swedish internationals Martin Olsson and Johan Elmander, and is acutely aware of the injury repercussions.
“Particularly at this stage of the season it is really tough,” he said. “Added to that is the fact the games are on the Wednesday this time around. From our point of view the international window had been changed to Tuesday and Friday to accommodate club teams so I am very surprised that has not happened this time. I know the countries may look at it as an important friendly for some building up to World Cups and maybe there is a reason behind the date change.
“Our league game of course is on the Sunday against Villa but Tuesday is a far more ideal option. We do speak to the international managers and we have good relations with them. You have to be very conscious of players’ form and fitness. One thing you would have after every league game at this crucial stage of the season is that you are always going to have some knocks after a game. They need time to recover so, yes, I expect myself and most of the club managers will be on the phone.”