Roy Hodgson believes England will benefit from upcoming winter break
Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson believes the England national team will benefit from the upcoming winter break next month.
Following an agreement in June 2018 between the Football Association, the Premier League and EFL, this campaign is the first to feature a mid-season player break.
Eight clubs will play on the second weekend of February while the other 12 sides not in action will play fixtures a week later between February 14 and 17.
Although only a short period, Hodgson, who managed England between 2012 and 2016, feels it will have an impact and remembers fellow ex-Three Lions boss Sven-Goran Eriksson calling for the winter break when he was in charge of the national team.
“I think that was one of the main things every England manager from Sven onwards was talking about,” the 72-year-old said.
“One of the major problems England have and have had traditionally over the years is that qualifying results often go better than the results in the final tournaments.
“That is because you are taking players to the tournament who are often much more fatigued and battle weary than some of their European or South American counterparts.”
Hodgson insists it is important psychologically for the players to be able to switch off and to also rest up following a demanding Christmas period.
Ahead of hosting Southampton on Tuesday, the Eagles will welcome Max Meyer back into the squad after an ankle injury, but remain without six other first-teamers.
“I think the reason we need a winter break here – and it is something I and many managers have been lobbying for – is for mental reasons,” Hodgson added.
“To give people that breather to get a second wind before confronting the second part of the season in particular after a period where you are playing three games in the space of six days.
“We have seen this year an awful lot of players who have suffered quite serious muscle injuries which will keep them out for months.
“It can’t be a coincidence that these injuries have come about after an enormously tiring and demanding period over Christmas.
“I see nothing but benefits for the winter break and I praise the Premier League for the clever way they have been able to do it.
“I am looking forward to it and I shall be encouraging the players to take full advantage and to get away from football for that period of time and spend time with their families.”
After a busy schedule, Palace have two breaks coming up with 10 days between Tuesday’s fixture with Southampton and the visit of Sheffield United next month.
Then after travelling to Everton a week later, the Eagles will not return to action until February 22 when they host Newcastle.
Hodgson will hope they head into the first of two breaks with a strong showing against a resurgent Southampton side, who have got Danny Ings firing again with the former Liverpool striker scoring 16 times this term.
The Saints forward received his solitary England cap from Hodgson in 2015 before two serious knee injuries sidelined him for the best part of two years.
“We thought when we capped him that he was going to be an important player for us,” Hodgson said.
“His situation is comparable to Connor Wickham’s, where suddenly your career comes to an abrupt halt due to serious injuries and it takes a long while for you to get back again.
“I have always believed in Danny and he is one of the players, there are several of them, that in terms of my England career I was unable to use.”