It’s easy to forget that Mark Hughes was previously manager of Wales. Especially when you hear the Manchester City manager banging on about how something should be done to stop players going off to play for their country and coming back with an injury which will see them out of action for the best part of the season.
The Times reports that Martin Petrov could be out with a knee injury for six weeks. This has come as a result of the winger playing for Bulgaria against Georgia, and the player’s club manager is not best pleased that he’s without this very important weapon of attack. This follows in the footsteps of Rafael Benitez, who has also declared his irritation with the the number of internationals that footballers have to play during the course of the season.
“The fear is that Martin has done his anterior cruciate ligament, which would mean five or six months out,” Hughes said. “It is a difficult job being an international manager. They only have a certain amount of games to make an impression and sometimes even to keep their jobs, so they have to have as many key personnel at their disposal as they can. But sometimes that will compromise the players – they maybe play for too long. Maybe on occasions there needs to be a little bit more thought for the player himself and his future at his club.
“He had only had 20 minutes in one game [against Omonia Nicosia in October] and five minutes in another [against Liverpool three days later] prior to going away and playing 90 minutes for his country. It is a big ask and players are at risk on occasions if they have not had the required amount of time on the pitch prior to joining the international squads.”
Manchester City fans, just how big a blow is it to be without Martin Petrov for such a big chunk of the season? The Bulgarian was clearly one of the team’s best players this season, although the likes of Stephen Ireland, Elano and now Shaun Wright-Phillips will have to step up to the plate as far as goals and assists from midfield are concerned.