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Toby Alderweireld blames exhausting Premier League schedule for England’s early exit

Maybe there’s something to the idea of England’s players being tired after all.

Hungary v Belgium - Round of 16: UEFA Euro 2016 Photo by Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images

Belgium center back Toby Alderweireld had some sympathy on display for his English Tottenham Hotspur teammates after their ignominious exit from the Euros. In a press conference ahead of the Red Devils’ quarterfinal match against Wales, Alderweireld suggested that England’s dour performances may have had as much to do with exhaustion after a long Premier League season as it did from overall poor performances.

'A break in the season would be good idea. Who am I, of course, to judge, but the Premier League must urgently think about a rest period in a European Championship or World Cup year.

'We are working day by day for a year. When the other leagues take a winter break, we just gear up. That creeps into your clothes and translates into the elimination of England.'

This isn’t a new argument, of course -- the idea of a winter break in the Premier League comes up nearly every year, and especially on the summers in which Premier League players are participating in major summer tournaments. That said, the ten-month uninterrupted schedule is grueling and puts enormous strain on even the most fit of professional footballers.

Toby himself hasn’t looked quite as imperious in Belgium’s back line as he has playing for Spurs this past season, and admitted that he’s also feeling the strain of a long season combined with a huge summer of football.

“Keeping mental freshness is sometimes difficult,” he said, “but it is easier when you win.”