International break won’t do Norwich City boss Daniel Farke much good in his fortnight of need
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
As Daniel Farke sifted through the wreckage of Norwich City's last outing, at Millwall, he made a parting plea to the players – and their managers – who were off on international duty.
'We are not there to control them and I hope the players are not too motivated to take too much risk,' he said. 'As a coach you hope there is not too much load on them after a really hard period.'
Russell Martin, Steven Naismith and Grant Hanley with Scotland, Nelson Oliveira with Portugal, Michael McGovern with Northern Ireland, Wes Hoolahan with the Republic of Ireland, Marley Watkins with Wales and Angus Gunn with England Under 21s – all away, all out of his control.
If any of them need some cotton wool wrapping applying, better it be done under the interests of Norwich City than an international set-up which won't need to see them again until the next break, in October. Farke's needs are much more immediate.
It isn't just about avoiding unnecessary exertions – Farke doesn't need any more injuries – but after the mauling at The Den, he could have done with them staying in Norfolk so he can attempt to right a few wrongs.
He will have been frustrated at their absences and probably have mixed feelings about the amount of playing they actually did. How he could have done with new signing Grant Hanley assimilating himself with City's defensive frailties; for Russell Martin to find a bit of confidence, for Steven Naismith to find some form.
Instead, the three Scots played, in two matches, a grand total of 34 minutes between them – when Hanley came on as a sub at home to Malta on Monday.
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Wes Hoolahan was an unused sub in Georgia on Saturday, although his absence was probably due to a tight groin – another worry for Farke. Michael McGovern played in both of Northern Ireland's matches but, as he is not first choice, it perhaps matters less than Angus Gunn's absence with England Under-21s – at least he got some decent minutes under his belt.
Marley Watkins was away with Wales, but didn't kick a ball in anger, while Nelson Oliveira got 10 minutes in two games for Portugal - although he did manage a goal. Not that he lacks confidence.
For one reason or another, not a great break for Farke.