France turning to science to combat fatigue

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France have resorted to the use of a cryotherapy chamber in an attempt to help their walking wounded recover for their European Championship campaign.

Les Bleus are “not optimistic” of having Yann M’Vila available for their opening game against England on Monday, though fellow midfielders Blaise Matuidi and Alou Diarra are both making good progress in their recovery from setbacks.

Team doctor Fabrice Bryand admitted Marseille’s Diarra “gave us a big scare” when, having been pencilled in to play following M’Vila and Matuidi’s respective ankle and hamstring injuries, he suffered soreness in his knee.

The rigours of a long domestic season raised fears of further injuries, leading coach Lauren Blanc and his medical team to devise a programme of cold treatment to aid the squad’s recovery.

“From 2230 or 2300, they spend three minutes in the chamber to help them sleep,” saidBryand.

“With the number of matches they played this season, we find ourselves dealing with particularly tired players.”

M’Vila had long been rated doubtful for Monday’s opener since turning his ankle in a pre-tournament friendly against Serbia on May 31, and Bryand considers it likely the Rennes star will miss out.

“His progress is good but we do not want to aggravate the injury,” he said.

“We are not optimistic for the 11th.

“We will increase his workload and see if his ankle swells again or if he suffers any ill effects. We will pay close attention to the player’s recovery.”

The 21-year-old has been linked with a move to Arsenal after establishing himself as a key player in Ligue 1, and his likely absence will be a boost to Roy Hodgson and his squad.

But France should have a strong replacement available, with Matuidi and Diarra on the mend.

“(Diarra) suffered a slight inflammation of the tendon behind the right knee, but it is going well,” said Bryand.

“(Thursday), we did not take any risks because we were training on a synthetic pitch, but he was initially going to train.

“(Matuidi’s) progress is very satisfactory. He has started a special program and we will accelerate that and bring him back gradually.

“Everything depends on how he reacts.”

Another player requiring the attention of Bryand and his team is defender Philippe Mexes, with the AC Milan player’s weight the subject of concern in some quarters.

Bryand, though, put it down to his recovery from a cruciate knee ligament injury which sidelined him for six months last year.

“After his injury, he built up a lot of muscle to strengthen his knee, but also on his upper body,” he said.

“Our role is to provide guidance. We provide menus and monitor how he takes them, in what quantity. But we are not ‘prison guards’, he knows what is in his best interest.”