Dutch fitness expert blasts Wenger and Moyes coaching techniques

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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.

VIDEO: Marco Verratti plays a brilliant pass to Eder for Italy goal

PALERMO, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 06:  Marco Verratti of Italy in action during the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier match between Italy and Bulgaria on September 6, 2015 in Palermo, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
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Italy took a 1-0 lead over Azerbaijan through the in-form Eder in the 11th minute, but the true leg-work (see what I did there) came from bite-sized midfielder Marco Verratti.

The PSG playmaker pinged a beautiful long ball over the top of the Azerbaijan defense that fell right at the feet of Eder, who let the ball settle itself and touched home confidently past Kamran Arhayev for a 1-0 lead.

The goal is the second of Eder’s national career in just five caps, having scored on debut against Bulgaria back in March. He has six goals in seven matches for Sampdoria so far this Serie A season.

Italy needs three points in this match to ensure qualification to Euro 2016. A win would guarantee them a place in the field, while anything less would mean there is work to do in the final match on Tuesday against Norway.


Later in the match, Stephan El Shaarawy gave Italy a 2-1 lead just before halftime, his second career international goal and his first since September of 2012 which came in his third career start.

Agent: Liverpool contacted Klopp only after Rodgers firing

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 09:  Jurgen Klopp arrives to be unveiled as the new manager of Liverpool FC at a press conference at Anfield on October 9, 2015 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
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As soon as Brendan Rodgers was dismissed by Liverpool on Sunday, Jurgen Klopp’s name was tossed around as the likely successor to the then-vacant Liverpool managerial position.

However, according to Klopp’s representatve Marc Kosicke, Liverpool did not make contact with the German until after Rodgers had been officially let go.

“The first call from Liverpool came after the dismissal as coach of Rodgers,” Kosicke told Bild. “Before Liverpool there were naturally quite a few inquiries. But Jurgen always asked me not to take it any further.”

Club management was less committal than Klopp’s rep, but did say they had their eye on the German for some time. “We have learned to keep certain matters confidential. We had a meeting recently with Jurgen that he has talked about and I don’t want to talk too much about these conversations. But we have thought about him for a long time and everyone who knows football knows he is an outstanding manager.”

It’s relatively hard to believe Liverpool would have canned Rodgers without knowing for sure that a top-level target such as Klopp or Carlo Ancelotti were on board to replace him. It also would mean discussions of the contract terms and logistics would have moved at lightning speed, with just four days between the Rodgers dismissal and Klopp’s official unveiling.