• Premier League

Lambert backs calls for Premier League winter break

ESPN staff
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Paul Lambert's Aston Villa side turned the form book upside down at Anfield © Getty Images
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Paul Lambert believes a winter break would be a positive development for the Premier League as Aston Villa prepare for another gruelling festive period of four games in 11 days.

The Villa manager knows all about the benefits of a winter shut down from his time with Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga during the mid-1990s and is a real fan of a similar system being introduced in England.

Premier League bosses have staged preliminary discussions on the matter and Lambert feels it would be a major benefit domestically, helping to sustain the Premier League product, as well as helping England teams ahead of major international tournaments.

So often in recent years, England players have complained about being physically jaded after long seasons with club football and of not being in peak condition when it matters playing at World Cups and European Championships for their country.

Even though he is in favour, Lambert doubts a continental-style break will be introduced in England, despite the benefits demonstrated to the national teams of Germany, Spain and Italy, where winter breaks are in operation.

Asked if he approved of the idea of winter breaks, Lambert replied: "Yes, I absolutely loved it. It was great. I really enjoyed it and if you were feeling tired at certain stages of the winter, a break helped.

"Over here and in Scotland, you were constantly playing football through the winter. The benefit you get from a winter break is great. 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."

Lambert believes German football has a good balance of giving players the desired amount of rest in their six-week break, but not completely shutting down during December and January. Players get to relax at Christmas, but are also required to do what is virtually a mini pre-season before resuming the Bundesliga.

"It was not like you were off for a few months. 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. I experienced it and loved it. It gives you time to get away," he said.

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