CHRISTIAN RADNEDGE in MANCHESTER: Roy Hodgson has urged Premier League clubs not to treat the international breaks as time off for their players.

Hodgson, at the Soccerex European Forum here, voiced his frustration at attitudes in the eternal Club v Country debate as he sought to regain some control for the national side.

His comments were underscored by the presence alongside him of three former England players with almost 250 caps between them in Michael Owen, Bryan Robson and Kevin Keegan.

“Club football needs international football,” said Hodgson. “It’s a great pity that we’re suggesting that international football should be relegated to lesser stage because clubs have championships or Champions League.

Dubai switch

“These breaks are being seen as the 10-day break you don’t always get during the season. It concerns me that we are guilty of accepting it’s the international break so we can give the player 10 days off or go to Dubai.

“I would still like to see the international break being a time when players go to play for their international teams. UEFA are going to put an end to the friendly debate by making sure they’re played within these international dates.”

Hodgson’s criticism followed an international break in which clubs scuh as West Ham flew to Dubai for the week and Rio Ferdinand declined an England call-up only to travel to Qatar to be a Aljazeera pundit.

The England manager took exception to the claim that some players need a break. He noted that Keegan and Robson both professed to having played more than 70 games in a season at some stage in their careers.

Other times

“If you’re a club manager now you’ve got no excuse” Hodgson said. “You can easily plan your time around these blocks. If your players need a rest, it’s not obligatory that it has to be during the international break. It can be done during the other 40-odd weeks of the year.”

Aside from Club v Country Hodgson welcomed the Premier League’s decision to implement goal-line technology from next season saying: “We’ve been talking about it for a long time. When a ball crosses the line it’s so obvious these days when you watch on television and it’s such an injustice when it’s not given.”

Hodgson added “Not every country is going to be able to have the luxury to have goal-line technology but at the top level I think it’s a good step forward, whether it will lead to other technology we’ll have to see but it’s a step in the right direction.”

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