Raymond Verheijen, author of The Complete Handbook of Conditioning for Soccer and former assistant manager of Wales, is on a tirade.
The Dutch fitness expert (pictured, right) is known for being openly critical of English managerial techniques on and off the pitch, and he’s at it again.
Yesterday, Verheijen described Arsenal’s handling of Theo Walcott as “Russian Roulette” and told Goal.com that his injury was a disaster waiting to happen.
Walcott, who tore his ACL on January 4th, had returned from a two-month injury layoff in the end of November thanks to an abdomen issue. He returned during a time of serious fixture congestion for the Gunners, playing the full 90 in five straight matches over an 18-day span. This, Verheijen believes, is what led to Walcott’s knee injury.
“Walcott’s injury is not bad luck, it is the logical consequence of the approach at Arsenal,” said VerheijenThey made a big gamble. It is Russian roulette with a player’s career.
“Walcott went from nothing to everything. If you haven’t played for a while you are not totally fit. Then, when you play a game when you are not top fit you will need more recovery time than normal. A top-fit player recovers from the game after 48 hours. But a player who is not top fit takes 72 hours to recover. So a less fit player is more susceptible to injury. So, in December when you are playing all these games while needing more recovery time than the average player it is common sense that you are accumulating fatigue.”
According to Verheijen, because of the fatigue that the 24-year-old built up during this conjested, his knee’s normal response to trauma was slow to react, thus late with its usual protection of the fragile ligaments.
However, the coach failed to mention that after Walcott’s abdomen injury, he made five substitute appearances for the Gunners before actually playing a full 90 minutes, accumulating just 73 minutes over the course of those five appearances.
The Dutchman went on to single out Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger for his lack of adaptation to the uptick in tempo that has swept across the sport. “What Arsene Wenger did 15 years ago was revolutionary for the UK,” Verheijen said. “But he kept doing what he was doing for 15 years so, basically, he stood still.”
In order to avoid reinjury after returning to the pitch, Verheijen says Walcott must not just concentrate on his knee during rehabilitation. “Theo Walcott has to rehabilitate his career, not only his ACL.”
It isn’t just Arsenal the 42-year-old Dutchman is concerned about though. In a scathing Twitter rant yesterday, Verheijen blasted David Moyes and his young Manchester United career.
He called David Moyes a “nobody,” called his backroom staff “clueless,” labeled his training techniques as “prehistoric,” and tabbed his tactical knowledge as “superficial.” The 42-year-old said no matter who United sign, “these new players will either get injured or play in the wrong position with this manager.”
It’s not the first time Verheijen has said such negative things about Moyes. When Robin van Persie first began to struggle with fitness at the end of last calendar year, the Dutchman called Moyes “prehistoric” and was highly critical of the way Moyes handled the Dutch striker’s training.
This man may know his stuff, but he sure didn’t hold back when talking about some very big names in the world of soccer.
It’s also not the first time Verheijen has ruffled feathers above him. During his time at Wales, after the death of manager Gary Speed in December 2011, the Dutchman threw his name in the hat for the open job, tweeting that he would like to “lead the team to Brazil.” It didn’t go down well with some current and former players.
He resigned from his position at Wales just weeks later in February of 2012, less than a week before Speed’s honorary match with Costa Rica.