Manchester United Manager, Marc Skinner has criticised the schedule ahead of the opening game of the WSL as some of his players played abroad on international duty in mid-week.
Two of his players, Ella Toone and Mary Earps, were in Utrecht on Tuesday playing for England in the Nations League, just five weeks after the conclusion of the Women’s World Cup.
In a press conference ahead of United’s season opener against Villa on Sunday Skinner said: “We all want this energetic start. I might be predicting the future and I might get it wrong but I imagine every game this weekend will end with walking football.”
He continued: “There will be people that are fatigued, not up to scratch, not up to the minutes they need. From my perspective, it’s a crazy way to just shovel games in.”
Skinner is not the first to complain about the congested fixture list for those on international duty.
Earlier in the week, England and Chelsea captain, Millie Bright, who had just 13 days off between the World Cup and The Nations League said: “The standards may slip if we keep going the way we’re going, and there’s bound to be more injuries.”
She called for more talks between federations, players and managers: “We understand not every club and federation is in the same position, [but] everyone just needs to be on the same page and all agree to the same structure so we can move forward in the best way possible, for the game.”
Skinner went on to speculate about what the international managers think about the scheduling of the tournaments: “I get the format, I get the intent but I’m not even sure the international managers were happy with it.”
He concluded: “From my perspective it’s a strange window and will definitely lead to a lack of cohesion for a lot of teams going into all of their markets, not just England.”
Meanwhile, Willie Kirk, the manager of Leicester City echoed Skinner’s sentiments.
Kirk said: “It’s a pain in the backside, I hate the international window. I like it in terms of the players getting a little break, in terms of a change of scenery. Not break as a physical break, but just a mental break.”
He continued: “But you’re constantly checking your phone, you’re checking lineups, you’re checking substitutions. If somebody comes off you’re worried they’ve got a knock, if somebody’s not playing you’re wondering why they’re not playing. Yeah, it’s just a really unsettling time.”
One of Skinner’s new signings, Emma Watson suffered an ACL injury whilst on international duty for Scotland, ruling her out for much of this season.
Skinner also revealed that he’d be without defender Aoife Mannion for his opener against Villa as an injury is expected to sideline her for approximately eight weeks.
Aston Villa vs Manchester United is the first game of the new WSL season and it kicks off at 12.30 on Sunday.