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RODGERS SLAMS HAMPDEN WORLD CUP TIMING

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BRENDAN RODGERS has expressed his concern at the scheduling of the next Scotland v England game.
The Parkhead boss voiced his frustration at the June 10 timing of the World Cup qualifier at Hampden and views it as a potential nightmare for his top players.
Celtic are on course for the domestic treble and Rodgers hopes his side will be involved in the Scottish Cup Final on May 27.
That would mean as many as six of his Scots stars would be unable to then go on their summer break due to the clash against Gareth Southgate’s men looming two weeks later.
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The knock-on effect is that Rodgers’ players may only have 10 days’ holiday before returning to Lennoxtown to prepare for European qualifiers – which, barring a disaster, will be the Champions League.

Were they to fail to make the Cup Final, a three-week lay-off between the end of the league season and the England game would present another problem.

The champions’ aces who could be involved in Gordon Strachan’s plans are Craig Gordon, Kieran Tierney, James Forrest, Stuart Armstrong, Leigh Griffths and skipper Scott Brown, who is still swithering on his international future.

Rodgers believes having international games scheduled by FIFA on such a date takes no account of the schedules of clubs outwith the major nations.

Asked if he believed June 10 to be a nightmare in terms of his preparation, he said: “Yes, and also for players. For players, it’s not great.

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“Some who don’t make the Cup Final finish a bit before that. That’s them finished, but they’ve got to kick on again. So, it’s not a good date at all.

“If you look at June right the way through, there is not a free date. Look at the UEFA games. It’s all blocked out for games across Europe.

“That comes into consideration for a senior player. If you are 17, 18, 19 – you will play all the time.

“I remember talking with Arjen Robben at Chelsea and he said he hadn’t had a break for seven years. Not one summer free for seven years.

“You can say you are getting well paid, but that’s the job. The better they are, they get paid more.

“That still doesn’t stop your legs being tired or mental fatigue.”

Former Hoops gaffer Neil Lennon attempted to deal with the problem by giving some of his top performers a week’s rest if they got the title wrapped up early.

Rodgers insisted that is only something he can look at if and when he is in a position to do so.

He added: “I think it’s something that’s probably done up here. I’ll see how the players are.

“I think we’ve had the break now, that period of rest.

“We want to be the best we can be this year. I’ll think about it a bit later on.

“But we have to do our job, which is to win as much as we can.

“To do that, everyone needs to be focused.”

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