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PalaceFan in Alabama
26-05-2002, 09:57 AM
More from the Sunday Mirror:

FOOTBALL: FIT TO RULE THE WORLD
HIS impressive CV should give rise to renewed optimism, but England's first fitness coach is facing the type of crisis that has left him wondering if he's made a disastrous career move.

Before he answered an SOS call from Sven Goran Eriksson, Ivan Carminati was on a roll and widely perceived to be one of the best operators in his field.

In a career spanning 14 years he has risen from the obscurity of Italian Third Division football to the heights of success at Parma, Borussia Dortmund and Lazio.

In between he has taken on the jobs of knocking the Italian Olympic Under-21 team into shape at Atlanta and guiding the full Italy team to the brink of success at Euro 2000.

Lazio president Sergio Caragnotti has described Carminati as a miracle worker - so much so that he has just sacked his current fitness coach and re- appointed Carminati on a three-year contract once the World Cup finals are over.

Yet it is somewhat fortunate for Carminati that the deal was done before England found themselves decimated by injuries amid claims that the Italian's tough fitness regime has been partly to blame.

Contrary to claims of a welcome break in Dubai with their families, Carminati in fact put the England players through a tough work-out over three days that left some of them totally exhausted following another gruelling domestic season.

Yet he makes no excuses for the punishing regime and insists that what is left of the England squad will be the fittest group of players at this World Cup.

Carminati said: "We did work very hard in Dubai, which was difficult because of the weather which was hot and humid. But the players did well and I'm happy with their condition.

"I think it was a good decision for the players to go with their families to Dubai to have a holiday and do some work, but when I met up with them they were tired in the brain because of a hard season."

Over the last week the squad have been doing a lot of running and by Friday and through to yesterday the emphasis was on speed and power, designed to make the players more efficient in these climatic conditions.

Carminati added: "We started by doing a lot of running, but by Friday we started to look at speed and power so the players will become more efficient performers.

"I think we are working the right way and have a good mixture of football and fitness sessions. Day by day the players are increasing their fitness and from Friday onwards the quantity and quality of training will improve."

Like Eriksson, Carminati is quick to criticize English football's excessive demands of playing 50 or 60 games a season and cites this as the biggest cause of the recent injuries.

He said: "The big problem for the English players is that they play a lot of games so they are exposed to more injuries in a season. When you play 50 or 55 games you are going to suffer with injuries."

Carminati tested the players in November and April with two systems, the first devised to measure aerobic ability and the second about power and strength. He explained: "In the first test for aerobic condition you run a lap of 220 metres with a heart belt and a watch and you increase your speed each 100 metres.

"You put the data on the computer and you can see the heartbeat of the player and you can choose the right pace for fitness.

"The second one is a test for strength. You make a lot of jumps on the mat which is connected with the computer and you can see the height of the jump and the contact time.

"I was really surprised when I came to England for the first time in November and did the tests with the national team. From both the aerobic and the power points of view they are as fit as anyone."

And that is something that Carminati puts down to the training methods of the English clubs.

He said: "I was in England for two weeks and I watched Manchester United, Liverpool, Leeds, West Ham and Chelsea and I learned a lot from the fitness coaches. Each club has a particular routine and they were all very friendly. I was able to talk to the fitness coaches and the physios."

Carminati is adamant that the climatic conditions will be the biggest problem in the World Cup but he insists that England have taken every eventuality into consideration.

He recalled: "I was with the Italian Under-21 team in Atlanta at the Olympic Games. It was awful weather, humidity around 80 and 90 per cent and around 35 degrees. We had a lot of problems because we were not used to the climate.

"But I think Sven and the doctors have done a great job preparing the players for the climatic problems we are going to face. We did a blood test in April and November and were able gain vital information about liquids and the intake required.

"We weigh the players every day before breakfast and before and after training and we can see how much fluid they lose and how much they need to take in.

"I hope there will be no fitter team than England in the World Cup, but I imagine all the big teams have prepared well for this tournament."

Celestial Empire
26-05-2002, 06:58 PM
Yes, interesting.
Given the work rate required by the Prem, and the adrenaline type games, when they come off the end of the season and have to start adjusting to different training regimes and the international pattern of play, maybe it isn't surprising that there's a bunch of injuries.
The Froggy players in the Prem all looked pretty jaded today, (but Le boef looked much better than in his last season for Chelsea).

Al From Bromley
27-05-2002, 12:19 AM
Eddie the Eagle was pretty fit in his ski jumping days too - he just wasnt good enough to win anything :)