Equal Time: Why the September international break is beneficial
Let’s be honest, nobody enjoys international breaks. Two full weeks where almost nothing happens, except on a few days. Sure, major tournaments are great, matches aplenty crammed into a short space, but mid-season International breaks, they’re a bit boring aren’t they? But that doesn’t mean they aren’t worthwhile...
Take Burnley for example. Their Europa League campaign has hit them hard and they have barely got going this season. For them, this break could scarcely have come at a better time. It gives them a chance to; essentially, hit the reset button on their season. They can get back on the training ground for two weeks to get back to what got them into that position in the first place, away from the pressure of having to play two games a week, every week, whilst the rest of the league plays one. For Burnley, it’s an opportunity to get their season back on track and snap the negative momentum they had started to build.
But it’s not just Burnley who could benefit. Everton is another example of a club who could stand to profit. In their last match before the break Theo Walcott, one of the club’s best performers so far this season, was forced off through injury. The injury appears to be a minor one and with two full weeks off it’s feasible they could have him back without a single game being missed. It's not just the English winger, either. On deadline day, The Toffees signed two players from FC Barcelona, Andre Gomes and Yerry Mina. Neither has played for the club yet due to injury, so a break from playing offers a further chance to get players fit and ready as the season kicks into gear.
Let’s look at it from another perspective. We all adore club football, but the World Cup and England’s performance in it, made the nation fall back in love with the national team. This is the first real opportunity supporters have had to pay tribute to the group that reached the last four in Russia and also the first chance to see the new Nations League in action. This fresh concept was conceived to try and eliminate the number of friendly matches played that were ultimately meaningless and actually offers a prize at the end of it. It gives a country that might not otherwise have a chance, to get a place at the European Championships in 2020.
So, whilst I take the point that the international break interrupts a season that has only just got going and that, for certain clubs like Watford for example, it couldn’t have been timed any worse in terms of snapping momentum that doesn’t render it pointless.
It can offer a chance for others to get their season moving, get players back from injury and start to look forward. But there’s also one other benefit. For fans of certain nations used to watching their country in major tournaments, these internationals can seem tiresome. But for supporters of smaller nations unlikely to make a major tournament like Lithuania, Georgia, Scotland (just kidding Scots) amongst others, it represents their best chance of seeing their country take on the heavyweights of the international game.