SHEFFIELD UNITED: Festive Wilson rejects calls for a winter break

No break: Danny Wilson says the season should be left as it is
No break: Danny Wilson says the season should be left as it is

DANNY Wilson, the Sheffield United manager, has dismissed the argument that English football should introduce a winter break.

Sir Alex Ferguson, Roy Hodgson and Paul Lambert are among those members of the coaching fraternity to call for the FA to follow Europe’s lead by organising a gap in the festive fixture schedule.

But Wilson, speaking ahead of today’s League One encounter with Scunthorpe, said: “Personally, I love playing over Christmas. I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if there weren’t matches to play.

“As far as I’m concerned at least, if you took them away at this time of year then I think you’d lose some of the soul of our game.

“It’s not all about players or staff. The fans seem to love coming to the grounds on Boxing Day and over Christmas.

“There’s always a great atmosphere, the crowds are big and because most people generally seem to get a bit of time off they can all relax and go out for a few pints or whatever with their mates afterwards.

“I know there are lots of people who think differently but, personally, it’s not something I’d advocate.”

Promotion hopefuls United trained at Shirecliffe yesterday ahead of this afternoon’s visit of a Scunthorpe side battling against relegation at the opposite end of the table.

Wilson added: “It’s no different to any other place of work where you come in over Christmas. We’re serious about our work but there’s always a light-hearted atmosphere abut the place.

“The lads are all wearing their new Christmas jumpers and stuff like that. And we don’t keep them in for ages either.

“It’s all about preparing properly for what’s coming up and running through some of the ideas we’ve had in the build-up.”

Lambert, the Aston Villa manager, represented Borussia Dortmund as a player during the mid-90s and recently became the latest high-profile name to press the case for players to be granted time off.

“The benefit you get from a winter break is great,” he said. “If you are carrying an injury it gives you that time to get back.

“The funny thing is I never felt tired over there. It definitely helps you.”

“It was not like you were off for a few months,” Lambert added. “You had to come back and do training and indoor football so that got you fit as well.

“The players had a bit of time off but you came off and did a mini pre-season.”

Despite acknowledging that four outings in 11 days, starting with the clash against Brian Laws’ side, could test both the durability and depth of options at his disposal, Wilson responded: “We don’t look any further than the next one ahead.

“That’s what it’s all about - trying to win the next game - not worrying about the second or third one that is coming up after that.

“I know it’s a cliché but it really is a case of just taking things one step at a time.

“Obviously you hope that you don’t encounter any problems.

“But, if you do, then you face them there and then rather than fretting about things which might not happen.”