Netherlands injury to Nathan Ake forces Frank de Boer to question friendlies

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Dutch coach Frank de Boer has questioned the need for international friendlies in an already crowded schedule after losing two players to injuries in his side's home draw against Spain on Wednesday.

Center-back Nathan Ake had to be pulled out early in the game due to a muscle injury and will return immediately to his club Manchester City, missing the Nations League matches of the Netherlands against Bosnia and Poland.

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Right-back Hans Hateboer was knocked out at half-time after facing Spaniard Jose Gaya, who had to be removed immediately for Luis Enrique's side.

“I don't think this game had to be played,” De Boer said at a press conference. “Money is very important but we also have to take care of our players.

“All interested parties should sit down and talk because the health of our players is important. We all agree on this and decisions have to be made. ”

With European national seasons starting a month later than usual due to the COVID-19 pandemic, international teams have played three matches instead of the usual two in a two-week period.

Clubs are also under increased pressure due to the shortened season, with the Champions League and Europa League sides forced to play three European games in three weeks.

De Boer's criticism of the meeting comes after Liverpool defender Joe Gomez suffered a knee injury in England training on Wednesday ahead of a friendly with Ireland, which prompted coach Gareth Southgate to s 'express on the demands placed on players.

“The big picture is that everyone in the game has to work together,” Southgate said earlier Wednesday. “With a Winter World Cup [in 2022] there was an opportunity this year to think differently.

“The pandemic has created all kinds of hardship for people. But everyone tried to cram the program into a shorter period. ”


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