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Swede claims medical research proves players in the English league suffer more injuries and warns expectations ahead of major competitions are always too high

Former England manager Sven Goran Eriksson claims the national side will struggle to compete at major tournaments unless the Premier League introduces a winter break.

The Leicester City manager was in charge of the national side for five years and believes the players who ply their trade in leagues that have a winter break are in better condition come the major tournaments.

“It's more difficult for England than other countries to do well in a big tournament," Eriksson told BBC Sport.

"You have to have a break. You need to give every Premier League player seven days to fly to wherever they want.

"They can have sunshine, relax and then one week of preparation and then start again."

Eriksson claims there is scientific proof behind his claims, although he doubts whether the Premier League will change its schedule due to the huge pressures of being the most watched league in the world.

“Owen Hargreaves was the fittest in tests [prior to the 2002 World Cup] because he had the long winter break [with Bayern Munich]," he explained.

"Uefa did medical research into injuries in the big leagues in Europe from March 1 to the end of the season. England were higher with injuries than anyone else [by four to one].

"You don't learn, because the Premier League want games to be played all the time, so people can watch it everywhere.

"The expectations on England are too high. Before the big tournaments start, the expectation with England builds up and up and up, and you are more or less world champions before you have kicked a ball.

"I don't know whether it is to do with '66, but you build the players up too much."