Suarez heads Copa America concerns

The Copa America, South America’s equivalent to the European Championships, is currently taking place in Argentina and finishes on 24 July.

There’s a sprinkling of Premier League players taking part so they won’t be joining up with their clubs for the start of pre-season training this week.

Instead they’ll be gruelling away in an intense competition where there’s no place to hide.

It’s a concern that they’ll either burn themselves out and require rest before their domestic season, or even pick up injuries in the tournament.

We saw this at the start of last season when the likes of Fabregas and Van Persie were given the start of the season off after a punishing schedule at the World Cup.

Let’s take a look at the Premier League players involved.

Chelsea: David Luiz (Brazil), Ramires (Brazil)
Liverpool: Lucus (Brazil), Luis Suarez (Uruguay)
Man City: Pablo Zabaleta (Argentina), Roque Santa Cruz (Paraguay), Carlos Tevez (Argentina)
Man Utd: Antonio Valencia (Ecuador)
Tottenham: Sandro (Brazil), Giovani dos Santos (Mexico)
West Brom: Gonzalo Jara (Chile)
Wigan: Antolin Alcarez (Paraguay), Hugo Rodallega (Colombia)

Rodallega, Tevez and Suarez are probably our biggest concerns.

Argentina and Uruguay are fancied to go a long way, further delaying the returns of Suarez and Tevez to pre-season with their clubs.

Rodallega might not normally be considered a big miss but Wigan’s first three games are against all three promoted sides (Norwich, QPR and Swansea) so we want a fit and refreshed Rodallega available for selection.

Tevez, with his battering ram reputation, a player who can go on forever, should be ok. We hope so: Man City host Swansea on the opening day.

Suarez is more of a concern, especially after recent quotes from Steve Clarke, Liverpool’s Assistant Manager. Clarke said:

“It’ll be up to us to make sure we put them in at the right time… The most important thing is they get adequate recovery time… When they come back we’ll assess the situation, assess them fitness-wise, physically and mentally – then we’ll decide how we fit them into our training schedule… If they are ready to start the season, fine – if they need a little bit longer to recover, that’s why you have a big squad. It will give other people a chance.”

But Suarez has since moved to ease such fears by saying:

“I don’t think I’ll have any problems at all… I think when you start to get to 28 or 29 as a player, tiredness creeps in, but at my age all you want to do is play football all the time. There will be no problems me coming back in good condition.”

Let’s hope Suarez is right as he’ll surely be a popular target for many initial fantasy squads.

Oh, you’ll be pleased to know that Javier Hernandez has been given the tournament off by Mexico!