'Players aren't being rested' Consultant blames injuries on tough programme.
INJURIES to "tired" players ahead of the World Cup should come as no surprise, according to a leading sports medical expert. Dr Ralph Rogers is a consultant in Sports and Musculoskeletal Medicine at The Gilmore Groin and Hernia Clinic, in Harley Street, London and feels a draining Barclays Premier League season cannot fail to have an impact on players' ability to stay fully fit heading into South Africa.
England - who had already seen David Beckham sidelined by ruptured Achilles - lost captain and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand to a knee injury after just one training session at their base in Rustenburg.
Chelsea trio Michael Ballack, Michael Essien and John Obi Mikel have already been ruled out of their respective countries' campaigns, while Ivory Coast are praying the operation on Didier Drogba's broken arm will allow him to play some part in the competition.
Meanwhile, Liverpool's Slovakia defender Martin Skrtel suffered a scare with an ankle injury and Holland winger Arjen Robben, the star of Bayern Munich's run to the Champions League final, is battling to be fit following a torn hamstring.
Rogers believes the stresses and strains of such demanding club campaigns can only have a negative impact on some of Europe's leading stars.
"It does not surprise me, or any other sports physician, that a lot of guys who play in the Premier League will not be going to the World Cup," Dr Rogers said last night.
"We are not only talking about physical injuries, it is also the mental preparation, and a lot of these guys are tired, but still have to gear themselves up for the greatest tournament on earth.
"We love the English Premier League, it is fantastic and exciting, but these guys do not get a break.
"Even someone like Wayne Rooney, who is a strong kid, will carry a couple of niggles into the World Cup.
"The big problem is that when people carry an injury, they are more prone to injury somewhere else.
"It is biomechanics. "Your body is like a piece of metal - if you stretch it enough, then due to fatigue, it will break, we have seen it with Ferdinand.
"These guys never get a chance to recover completely.
"It is also mental as well, because if you are fatigued mentally, you will break down physically as well.
"This has been happening year after year, and it is ridiculous there is no winter break." Rogers moved to Britain from the United States in 1997. The Americans will face England in their opening Group C game on Saturday.
Rogers feels England's fatigue issues could give his compatriots a boost.
"The US team may not have the technique and may well get beaten by England, yet physically we will be better, stronger and faster, because we will be ready, but England will be tired," he said. "If you look at what Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham have all done this season, you can't say it has not been stressful for all those kids.
"Emotionally there have been so many ups and downs, then they have to prepare for the World Cup.
"These guys know they are tired and need a break."
MORE THAN JUST BAD LUCK? Among the players troubled by injury are Didier Drogba, below, and right, from top, Rio Ferdinand, Arjen Robben, Michael Essien, David Beckham and Michael Ballack