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John Giles: Get on with the job Wayne and stop the complaining


Manchester United's Wayne Rooney

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney

I WONDER was Wayne Rooney tired after Manchester United drew 1-1 with Stoke City yesterday? Did he get home after a hard day's work and collapse into bed?

Or did he feel chipper enough to gather up Coleen and head out for a slap-up meal in one of Manchester's fine dining spots?

After the busy festive fixture list wrapped up yesterday, each Premier League manager will have a different view of the frantic run of games. Mauricio Pochettino will be absolutely delighted after his players put Chelsea away and left Jose Mourinho spluttering.

Manuel Pellegrini will be purring and there's no way he would trade the psychological boost his men have received in the last few weeks for anything.

Manchester United dropped too many points and I know from what Rooney said this week that he believes that Premier League players need a break at Christmas. Louis van Gaal agrees with him.

Maybe that should be the other way around. Old Trafford is speaking with one voice these days, which is good news for Manchester United fans. But I must say I was amazed at what they had to say about the demands on professional footballers.

Van Gaal has some small excuse for making the comments he made, claiming that it has been scientifically proven that a professional footballer needs 48 hours to recover properly and that the programme over the holiday period was too much to expect of athletes.

I'm sure he's right. I'm sure there are any number of tests and measurements which would prove that a footballer would be better off with 48 hours rest than 36. A week would be even better.

I'm also sure that the A&E nurse working through New Year's Eve and on call through yesterday and today could probably do with a day off too but some people don't have a choice about when they work and when they do not.

I wonder if Rooney would be happy if his house was on fire and the 999 operator told him that there were no firemen available because it had been proven scientifically that they needed 48 hours to recover from their last fire.

Many, many people stretch themselves beyond what would be considered normal human parameters to the do the work they do and willingly accept that fact on a daily basis. Most don't get paid anything like what professional footballers earn.

Van Gaal comes from a background which includes a two-week winter break but this was mostly about climate and the fact that many parts of Europe are very, very cold in winter.

He also made some forthright comments about Manchester United's pre-season schedule in America, so at least he is consistent about wanting the best for his players.

No doubt van Gaal is used to having the best medical advice and the best practitioners of sports science that money can buy but we live in an imperfect world

He really should just knuckle down and deal with what is in front of him before he tries to change an entire culture.

I'm not at all sure what Rooney wants. He suggested that the quality of Manchester United's game against Spurs suffered in the second-half because the players were tired.

If it was the case that only one or a few teams had to go through the busy festive schedule with a big workload, both men would have a point.

But it is the same for everyone. It has always been the same for everyone and even if it may be scientifically wrong to play so many games in a short space of time, when else should they be played?


In an ideal world, one game a week would be perfect. It would allow plenty of time for recovery and to work on flaws which may have been exposed by the previous game.

No matter how creative FIFA, UEFA, The English FA and the Premier League contrive to be, the season is finite and matches have to be played.

Once you sign up for work as a professional footballer, however, you take the schedule that comes with it and do the best you can. If that means four games in ten days, so be it.

In my day, the one sensible reason advanced for a winter break was the state of the pitches but that is no longer an issue and hasn't been for some time. Even League 2 surfaces are like billiard tables compared to what we had to play on.

Personally, I used to enjoy the Christmas and Easter fixture rush. There was a great sense of unity among the players because they were playing while everyone else was partying.

I always felt that the sacrifices made were part of the job. It was a hard life then and I'm sure it is no different now. The rewards are far greater but achieving the levels of fitness needed to give your best over 60 games still requires discipline and determination.

Not many can do it and of the thousands who try, an even smaller number get to play at the very highest level at a club like Manchester United.

That's part of the reason why footballers earn big money nowadays but the larger element is that they are part of the entertainment industry and during those two holiday periods, football carries on. Clubs get big crowds and the best atmosphere all season.

Does Rooney want to kill that?

There's an even more fundamental issue here. Footballer should be tired. It's part of the job. I can't ever remember a game I played that didn't tire me out.

Many marathon runners have to go through a mental and physical wall to run the times they do. Ideally, they could do with a break but you can't stop running.

There were days when I thought that I would melt into the ground after ten minutes but that's what building core fitness is all about. You need to have a well to go to when the mind tells the body it has had enough.

Does Rooney want to finish a game feeling fine? That would be ridiculous. He's not doing his job properly if that's what he aspires to.