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Alan Shearer: Newcastle vs Spurs Post-Season Friendly is ‘Madness’

Alan Shearer Labels Newcastle United vs Tottenham Hotspur Friendly ‘Madness’

Premier League Season End and Post-Season Plans

The curtain may have fallen on the Premier League season, but for some teams, the action is far from over. While the FA Cup final between Manchester United and Manchester City at Wembley is set for Saturday, two other Premier League giants, Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur, have embarked on an unexpected journey to Australia for a post-season friendly.

Clash Down Under: Newcastle and Tottenham in Australia

Both clubs have travelled to Melbourne, where they will face off at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground on Wednesday. Following this, Newcastle United will play a second match against an A-League All Star side on Friday. The squads for these matches are packed with star players; Newcastle has included Kieran Trippier, Bruno Guimaraes, and Alexander Isak, while Tottenham has brought along James Maddison, Micky van de Ven, and Heung-Min Son.

Alan Shearer’s Critique of the Timing

Legendary ex-England and Newcastle striker Alan Shearer has expressed his astonishment at the timing of these fixtures. Shearer voiced his concerns on Match Of The Day, stating, “Can you imagine if you’re a player who is playing in either the Copa America or Euro 2024 having to do that? Madness. Crazy. I wouldn’t be happy at all. It’s crazy for Newcastle to go and play Spurs there on Wednesday night and then another game.”

His concerns are shared by many within the football community, especially considering the European Championships in Germany and the Copa America in the United States are just weeks away. The European Championships kick off on 14 June, and the Copa America starts six days later.

Player Workload and Fixture Congestion

The decision to proceed with these matches despite growing concerns about player workload reflects a broader issue in football. Premier League chief executive Richard Masters recently highlighted that the football calendar is “getting to a tipping point” due to the increasing number of matches.

Next season, the Champions League will expand to 36 teams, adopting a league format that adds two extra matches per team. Additionally, the Club World Cup will transform into a 32-team tournament held every four years, further increasing the match load. The Football Association has already taken steps to mitigate this by scrapping FA Cup replays from the first round onwards.

A report from the players’ union Fifpro last year emphasized the need for the sport to protect players from “dangerous levels of fixture congestion.” It noted that changes to major tournaments would increase the number of games for top players, posing a significant risk to their wellbeing. “The reforms of the two major tournaments will ultimately increase the number of games played by top players who could conceivably feature in both,” Fifpro stated.

Club Perspectives: Newcastle and Tottenham

Despite these concerns, Newcastle United’s manager Eddie Howe views the tour to Australia as a “brilliant opportunity” to connect with the club’s international fanbase. “I think it’s important we grow the name of Newcastle at every opportunity we get,” Howe said. He also acknowledged the logistical challenges, mentioning the need to “rotate” players and ensure everyone gets “some minutes” after the lengthy flight.

On the other hand, Tottenham manager Ange Postecoglou highlighted the “exposure and revenue” benefits of the trip but admitted he would have blocked it if the team had a more demanding schedule in Europe. “If we had a bigger game schedule I probably would have said ‘no’ to it and I don’t think the club would have expected us to go,” Postecoglou explained. However, he noted that the players understood the rationale behind the decision.

Looking ahead, Tottenham’s pre-season tour will continue in Asia, with a notable fixture against Bayern Munich in Seoul on 3 August, where they may encounter their former skipper, Harry Kane.

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