It’s time for another international break, which means that it’s time for another international break injury lottery. Who will our lucky winners be this time?
Except of course there are no winners in these situations, not Chelsea, not the national teams, not the players themselves.
This is especially a concern for Christian Pulisic and N’Golo Kanté, both of whom have been frequent visitors to the treatment room, and not just this season. Pulisic’s case is particularly galling, as he’s seemingly spent more time being available for the US Men’s National Team than Chelsea. Meanwhile, we’ve been vary careful with Kanté and his various muscle tightnesses.
Thomas Tuchel’s hoping that the national teams will at least afford us that courtesy, to be careful with our players and their various fitness concerns — as futile a hope as that might be.
“With the guys who come from injuries, it feels a little bit like we take care of them, and by doing that we take into account where they play and travel. This is the case with N’Golo and Christian.
“We have prepared them over the last two weeks for us but also so they free to go to their national teams and hopefully get the minutes that elevates them to a higher level when they come back, but if they do not get injured in the matches.
Chelsea, like all teams, are quite powerless in the face of FIFA mandating things and the players themselves almost always wanting to play — it is an honor to be selected for your country’s all-star team, after all. This leads to the ever-odd situation where the employer actually paying their employees’ salaries has the least amount of control.
“This is a constant balance and we have no control over it. So I’m always a bit frightened. [...] I hope they don’t overuse [Pulisic and] are responsible enough. Christian still feels a bit of pain.
“He absolutely wants to come back and it’s a matter of pain management. It’s not a matter of re-injury of still being injured. It’s just still painful but he tried hard, he wanted desperately to come back and we needed him back.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Metro
So all we can do is cross and fingers and hope