Former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Jamie O’Hara has called for the final round of Premier League fixtures before the World Cup to be postponed. His comments come after Ben Chilwell became the latest player to be sidelined among the England crop.
The Chelsea left-back limped off towards the end of their win over Dinamo Zagreb with an apparent hamstring problem. Chilwell joins the likes of Reece James, Kyle Walker and Bukayo Saka in suffering injuries that have raised questions over their availability for this month’s tournament in Qatar.
Following the Chelsea match, O’Hara told talkSPORT: “For England it’s a serious problem - players are dropping like flies. We keep going on about it, the amount of fixtures they’re having to squeeze in before the World Cup starts - big games as well. But these games tonight (Wednesday) are meant to be played in December and they are having to play them all know, so the big players have had to play in these games to get the club through.
“Cancel the last round of Premier League games and give them a bit of breathing space. The Premier League should do it or the FA should get involved.”
The World Cup was moved to winter this year due to the intense heat of the Middle East’s summer, meaning club football has had to be put on hold. England’s first match is due to kick off on November 21 with players set to travel earlier to get used to the hot weather.
The clash with Iran comes only eight days after the final match of the Premier League before it concludes for the tournament break, before resuming again six days after the World Cup final. The busy schedule has left football clubs packing in their matches, leaving players susceptible to injuries as they are forced to play two matches a week.
The extent of Chilwell’s injury is yet to be confirmed, however it is a huge concern only three weeks before the start of the tournament. The England stars aren’t the only ones suffering ahead of the World Cup, with the likes of N’Golo Kante and Wesley Fofana both sidelined for the international tournament. Kepa Arrizabalaga will also be hopeful of making a swift return to full fitness after being named in the preliminary Spain squad last week.