All the media attention surrounding Alexis Sanchez at the moment is your typical Arsenal kind of story. Everything is going well, he’s playing fantastic, goes away on international duty, and…
The rumors started off slow, but quickly spread like wildfire. Arsenal supporters went into panic, as all other supporters pointed and laughed.
As was the case for many Arsenal supporters, I heard it through friends first. The worst part is that this friend is a blue plastic fan from London, while the other is a scouser.
Both promptly texted me talking about how Arsenal’s season was already over. Apparently a torn calf muscle was the beginning of the end. The Gunners would now proceed to implode before our eyes. We’ve all seen this before right?!
My first reaction was of concern. I wasn’t sure what to believe. Were they just busting my chops, or was Alexis really headed for a long absence?
A search through Twitter confirmed an injury, but nothing seemed reliable. Some reports suggested a hamstring, others mentioned a torn calf muscle. Which one do I believe? Hell, I didn’t want to believe any of them.
With this injury, a valid point about players being able to turn down international duty becomes very relevant.
Can They Say No?
Having discussed this with a friend, most, if not all professional players would never turn down the opportunity to represent their country. Does it get any better than standing there with your fellow countrymen singing your national anthem? I think not.
I don’t care if you play for the 200th ranked international team. Representing your country is on a completely different level, at least I think it is.
But, seeing how Alexis is injured, or maybe he was already feeling it after the NLD, what if he had the opportunity to say no? What if he was able to contact the federation and tell them he felt a slight muscle injury and didn’t want to risk it?
While the likelihood of that happening is very slim especially for Alexis, shouldn’t that be an option for all players? Shouldn’t they be allowed to take a break if they feel it’s necessary? Having an injured player on international duty is not beneficial for country, nor for club. So why hasn’t this already been addressed?
One main question surrounding this possibility would be players turning down friendly matches.
Sure, I understand that if you have to travel to take part in a meaningless friendly you’d be tempted to say no. Travel 10 hours to win easily, or stay home and relax? I’m sure that makes your judgement difficult, but this would also show how devoted and professional these guys are.
If there is no reported injury and it’s just a matter of them not wanting to play, well, then the federation has a completely differnt issue on their hands.
At the moment, clubs can report an injury, but the federation can still force the player to report to training. From there, they’d likely have their doctors diagnose the issue before making a final decision. So regardless of how the club feels, the final decision is out of their hands, although they are the ones who pay the hefty player wages.
Why not give the club an opportunity to voice their opinion, as well as the player? If he isn’t feeling 100% and isn’t completely fit, why force the risk of further injury?
All Eyes On Santiago, Chile
In a perfect world, Alexis would not take part in Chile’s match on Tuesday. He’d head back to London to recover, and would be fully fit for Saturday’s match. But, we all know that’s likely not going to happen. The most probable is that he’ll force the issue against Uruguay seeing as Chile need the points, and will further aggravate the injury.
Although prayer isn’t likely to help, Arsenal supporters and Arsene Wenger will be on pins and needles Tuesday night. I bet the TV ratings for the Chile match are going to be through the roof. Every Arsenal supporter on the planet will be watching closely, cringing every time Alexis moves. If there’s one thing he must do, it’s stay away from Luis Suarez.
He will then return to London and try to play it off, but the Arsenal medical staff will keep him out. After the diagnosis, a two-week absence will turn into him only returning in February 2017.
Alexis, if you’re reading this, don’t do it! Juan Antonio Pizzi, don’t risk him! Arsenal supporters across the globe and Arsene Wenger are begging for your understanding. God dammit, do not allow him to play!