FIFA World Cup Injuries: Expert Analysis With Colin Lewin

FIFA world cup injury crisis with Colin Lewin
With Expert Insights From

On this special episode of the Premier Injuries podcast, recorded just before the FIFA 2022 World Cup Finals, Ben Dinnery and Jason McKenna are joined by former Head of Medicine at Arsenal, Colin Lewin, to discuss the World Cup finals in Qatar and the potential ramifications of holding a major international tournament mid-season on injury burden for the remainder of 2022-23.

Watch/listen to the podcast episode here or continue reading for some of the conversation highlights.

[2:20] The Club Versus Country Debate

Do domestic managers make considerations for their international counterparts?

Colin says:

I think managers, medical teams, S&C coaches, I think they’ll be more concerned about what state
[their players] are going to come back in. Obviously, they’d like them to go in a decent state, but
they’re going to join up with their international teams and be at the whim of that coach, at that national
team, who may train them in his own way and you’re not going to be able to control that.

Colin also explains why his relationship with the Ivory Coast “wasn’t so good” compared to some of
the European teams and offered his thoughts on members of the City backroom staff travelling with
Erling Haaland while he was away with the Norwegian squad.

[8:00] Will the World Cup affect players psychologically?

Brendan Rodgers believes that players may have held back towards the tail end of these recent
Premier League fixtures. “Players will give their best [for their club], but there can be no doubt in the
back of their mind that one injury could keep them out…”

Colin says:

I bet there are some players who, if they’re honest, they’ve held a little bit more back. Does that
depend on how their clubs are doing? Their relationship with their club? Their contract situation? Is it
their last World Cup?

[13:00] Will managers use their experience of the mid-season Africa Cup of Nations tournament to help manage players pre and post-World Cup?

Colin says:

Everything would have been meticulously planned months ago…

[15:00] Will we see injury rates reduce over the coming months, as most players will not be
heading into this congested festive fixture period overloaded?

Colin says:

Yes, especially if you’re talking about those teams out in Europe, as they’re probably going to play
less games. For the majority of players going to that World Cup, unless you’re in the semi or the final,
then there’s every chance you’re going to play less football.

[16:30] Is the prospect of players returning de-conditioned a genuine concern? Dominic Calvert-Lewin is a prime example after Euro 2020…

Colin says:

Underloaded is a strange term in some respects… Injuries tend to occur around changes in load, and
whether that’s overload, and FIFPro are quite right to highlight it, but underload can be just as
damaging at times.

[21:00] Thoughts on Antonio Conte and his decision not to take Tottenham abroad for warm weather training during this break.

Colin says:

I’m not sure we can question him too much on those sorts of decisions. Tottenham’s training ground
is going to be one of the best in the world with great quality pitches.

[34:00] Trying to manage players once they go on international duty…

Colin says:

Once they’re out of the door, it’s difficult to control it… I think managers having chats with players
before they go, [plus] us having chats with medical teams is always ‘hopeful’ and ‘this is what we
would like.

[37:00] The Reality of Managing Players Returning From International Duty

Colin says:

When you had the African lads and the South Americans, back in the day when their second game was on a Wednesday night. They used to walk through the door of the training ground on a Friday lunchtime – and we could be getting on the bus two hours later…

Also covered on the podcast:

  • Thoughts on James Maddison’s fitness…
  • FIFPro Report on Workload Monitoring and why the schedule will not hinder Brazil.
  • Pressures of working within the game and making those return-to-play decisions.
  • How will the build-up to Qatar 2022 differ from other end-of-season tournaments?
  • Preparation of the England players in Qatar… and is it Coming Home?