Shearer slams Liverpool captain Van Dijk for ‘nonsense’ claim that modern players ‘play too much’

Harry Watkinson
Newcastle legend Alan Shearer on punditry duties
Newcastle legend Alan Shearer on punditry duties

Newcastle United legend Alan Shearer has ripped into Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk after the defender argued too much is demanded of modern football players.

The Netherlands international made the claim last week, stating that the football calendar in England in particular is too hectic.

Speaking in a press conference, Van Dijk said: “In England, we believe that the calendars are too demanding. The players are paid well, but this should never be to the detriment of our health.

“We keep having to play more and more games. We players should start saying something, contribute to a solution.”

The 32-year-old was challenged on his view by a reporter, who asked if he would be willing to reduce his wage by 10 percent in order to play less matches.

“No,” the defender responded. The journalist replied: “And for the better of your health?” “Then yes,” was van Dijk’s answer.

In the next few years, UEFA are set to introduce reforms that will increase the match load in the Champions League and Europa League, while FIFA are to do the same for the World Cup and Club World Cup.

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Despite this, Shearer isn’t convinced by Van Dijk’s claims. The striker is well aware of the challenges of professional football, having played for almost 20 years at the highest level.

“Nonsense. Players are playing too much football? What? I mean come on,” he said on  The Rest is Football podcast.

“I know you shouldn’t mention the money but they have bigger squads than ever, more substitutes than ever and they are getting paid more money than ever.

“You have the best physios, the best technology, the best of everything. Do me a favour!”

Gary Lineker was slightly more sympathetic to Van Dijk’s viewpoint, however, noting that the travel involved in modern football must be ‘tiring.’

“My point would be they are asked to play a lot of football and they are asked to fly all over the world at times,” the former Everton and England striker said.

“In their private jets,” Shearer responded.

“However they travel, it is still tiring,” Lineker added. “My complaint is not for the footballers themselves but for me, we need to think about player welfare to keep the game as entertaining as possible.”

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