Ex-Arsenal and England physio issues grim injury warning amid stark rise in problems

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Football's authorities have been warned that injuries could continue to spike over the next three years due to the condensed schedule.

Former Arsenal and England physio Gary Lewin wants to see the sport's leading lights unite in an effort to protect players.

The Premier League has seen a host of high profile players miss parts of the season due to injury.

Joe Gomez and Nathan Ake recently added themselves to the list whilst on international duty with England and Holland respectively.

There is no official audit of Premier League players’ medical records but figures show a 16 per cent increase to 154 injuries and illnesses at this stage of the season compared to the previous four.

Joe Gomez was injured while with England
(Image: Getty Images)

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Stats show players missing games due to reported injuries and illnesses but do not account for fatigue-related absences such as cramp.

And Lewin wants to see a change in attitudes as players gear up for Euro 2021, World Cup 2022 and a disrupted campaign in 2022/23.

He told the Sun : “There is no proper break. The next three years is going to be very interesting.

“Questions need to be asked. As an industry, do we have a duty of care to our employees, the players?

“Instead of fighting for their own piece of the pie, everyone needs to work out what’s best for the game.

Nathan Ake hobbled off in midweek
(Image: Getty Images)

“We are an entertainment business so if the quality of the entertainment drops, viewing figures will drop.

“The process starts with everyone coming together rather than individual decisions being made for individual competitions.

“My suggestion is to get stakeholders together – the  Premier League, EFL, the PFA, international representatives, TV companies and commercial stakeholders.

“The first step forward would be an international calendar, the second step would be amalgamating the cup competitions into the Premier League. Some input from the PFA is needed for the players’ welfare.”

Liverpool currently top the Premier League injury list with 14 players out while Manchester City, missing 12 stars, are second.