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Chelsea legend Nevin claims extended break beneficial for Willian

Chelsea legend Pat Nevin says the current break from football could extend Willian's career.

No matches have been played since early March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

And 33-year-old Willian, who is out of contract this summer, could be a benefactor of the time away from football, according to Nevin.

"We always used to say that five or six weeks was around the minimum to get back after a big break in the summer, but in reality that rarely ever happens for many of the players now," Nevin told the club's website.

"With World Cups, Euros, Copa America and so on, how often do you really get that entire summer off now?

"This has been the kind of break a modern player only ever gets after a long-term injury. How strange that at a time when we are surrounded by the dreadful news of the terrible consequences of Covid-19 for so many people, this break in some ways might turn out to be a great help to the fitness and health of some players in long term.

"I look at someone like Willian and think, at his age and with the miles he has already put on the clock, a prolonged break will have done him the world of good. It might even prolong his and quite a few other careers.

"He and the rest will still have to go through the pain of what is essentially a pre-season regime which is never easy but the next question is, will they really be match fit in time for the big restart?

"Maybe a better question would be, does it matter? That might sound odd, but if every player at every club has the same limited time to get near to their peak, what difference does it make if they are all at 85 per cent instead of 95 per cent? Surely no one then has gained an unfair advantage in these circumstances. The games may be a bit slower to start with, as I think they have been in the Bundesliga, but surely that is fine if they are all in the same boat.

"There is of course the possibility of injury to players if they have not got themselves in absolutely perfect shape and I would not argue against that for a second.

"Yes, there is some increased risk there, but it might be worth it in extreme times and it has been slightly mitigated anyway by the slower pace, the possibility of using five subs and of course the larger size of the squads these days. Players also must use their match intelligence in a different way too, conserving energy when you can is an art, it is still used well be many players, especially those in the over-30 category.

"The team might have to play a lot of games in a short period of time, but all the players will not have to play in all the games. It is up to those at the clubs to intelligently use the bigger squads that are available to them these days. They have larger squads now than they have had at any time in history."

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Freddie Taylor

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