Wales legend Ian Rush fears World Cup every two years could shorten careers

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Liverpool and Wales legend Ian Rush is worried that a World Cup every two years would increase the demands on players to such an extent that it could end up shortening their careers.

As talk of a biennial tournament ramps up, the Anfield legend is urging those in charge to be careful with their plans for football's showpiece tournament.

Last month, former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger unveiled his idea for the World Cup to be held every two years, rather than the current four, in a bid to reduce the amount of international dates in the calendar.

The plans have drawn widespread criticism from players, managers and pundits, including England coach Gareth Southgate, Real Madrid chief Carlo Ancelotti and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

Rush, 59, played 73 times for his country but never got the chance to play at the World Cup as Wales missed out on qualification in 1982, 1986, 1990 and 1994.

Speaking exclusively to Daily Star Sport thanks to, Rush acknowledges that while a biennial tournament would be good for the Dragons, who have never reached the competition proper, it could have a negative effect on the players.

"It's a difficult one to tell you the truth," Rush begins.

"I think if you're Wales you say 'yeah, we want it every two years', but if you're a top team, you say you want it every four years.

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"I think it's in favour for a lot of so-called lower countries to have it every two years because you've got a better chance of qualifying.

"Whether it will happen, I don't know.

"But I think you have to be careful because if you're a player, the demands and pressures are so high playing, will it shorten the players' careers?

"Because a World Cup every two years, it puts more pressure on the players."

Despite that, Rush believes some players may want the tournament every two years to increase their chances of playing at a World Cup, while recognising that could be at odds with the position of their clubs.

"If you’re the manager of a Premier League team I think you’d want it every four years.

"But if you're a player you want it every two years, so it’s a difficult situation to work out.

"I think every two years would favour the teams not in the so-called top ten."

  • Liverpool FC
  • World Cup
  • Premier League

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