With a League of Nations match every three days to close the season, some coaches are forced to rotate in order to preserve the physical integrity of their players, as Louis Van Gaal, the coach of the Netherlands, did with Virgil Van Dijk, rested against Wales and Poland. Some Belgian players went on vacation earlier, too tired to finish the season. An alarming situation pointed out by Noël Le Graët or Hansi Flick.
Defenders on pole
Of the twenty outfield players paying the most minutes this season, clubs and selections combined, nine of them are defenders, six of whom are running out as retained. Logical consequence of rare changes to this position during the match. The first in this ranking is Antonio Rüdiger from Chelsea.
A Champions League semi-final, two National Cup finals and a starting place with Germany, the future Real Madrid player has totaled 61 games this season. Or a meeting every 4.6 days and a total time of 5645 minutes spent on the lawns.
Milan Skriniar, targeted by PSG, is also in this Top 20, in sixth place (59 games). The Slovak has only missed four Inter Milan fixtures and played 48 for his club, all of them in full. The others are also well represented with Joao Cancelo (Manchester City), Andrew Robertson (Liverpool) and Hamari Traoré (Rennes).
The Premier League well represented
Unsurprisingly, the most represented Championship is the Premier League, with nine players. The top five in this ranking also evolve in England, where National Cup matches often come to load the calendars of big cars.
Liverpool, winners of the FA Cup and Carabao Cup (each time against Chelsea in the final), place four of their players in the Top 20. Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané, who also played in the CAN, are the attackers who have played the most matches in the big five.
A schedule that Jürgen Klopp complained about at the end of the season, as Liverpool multiplied injuries as the Champions League final approached. In question, the League of Nations, whose usefulness is often questioned.
Saliba and Guendouzi in high demand
OM’s good run in the Europa Conference League logically influences the impressive playing time of certain Olympians. William Saliba and his 5006 minutes spent on the pitch in club and selection is eleventh in the standings, five places ahead of Mattéo Guendouzi, 4825 minutes in 61 games).
Aurélien Tchouaméni is also one of the most used midfielders in the 2021-2022 season. His good performances in selection have led Didier Deschamps to use him eleven times since September. Same observation in Monaco, where the last recruit of Real Madrid played 50 games, for 4232 minutes.
And the guards?
This classification of field players would be turned upside down with the presence of goalkeepers. Three of them have played more minutes than Rüdiger in all competitions: Édouard Mendy (Chelsea), Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester) and Jan Oblak (Atlético). The Senegalese porter even comes first with 63 games, and 5878 minutes in the field.