With the international break now under way, many Premier League fans will already be pining for the competition’s return.
It comes on September 15, but will every team be able to field the XI they would like after the air miles are racked up?
History suggests it’s unlikely. While many European players face relatively short trips across the Channel, the league’s South American, Asian and African stars face jet-lag inducing journeys across the globe.
Liverpool, who have made only one change to their starting XI in four games so far, will probably be hardest hit on this front.
As well as seeing Sadio Mane head to Madagascar on Senegal duty, they have Allison, Roberto Firmino and Fabinho in Brazil’s squad for the ‘Kickoff Series’ in the USA, although at least they are only heading to the Eastern Seaboard with games against USA in New Jersey and El Salvador in Washington DC.
However, the latter kicks off at 02:30 BST next Wednesday, leaving their trio facing a race against time to be back for the Saturday lunchtime kick-off at Spurs.
In contrast, Liverpool’s title rivals Manchester City are the big winners with none of Sergio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus, Ederson and Fernandinho selected for the matches across the Atlantic.
Chelsea’s Willian and Manchester United’s Fred and Andreas Pereira are in Brazil’s squad, though.
United’s Sergio Romero could be the player flying the most miles – having only just returned to fitness, the keeper is in Argentina’s squad for games against Guatemala in Los Angeles (more than 5,000 miles from Manchester) and Colombia in New Jersey.
At least Antonio Valencia has been left out of Ecuador’s squad for the series, but Spurs’ Davinson Sanchez is due to play for Colombia (Everton’s Yerry Mina and Bournemouth’s Jefferson Lerma are not) and Wolves have Raul Jimenez among Mexico’s number – their clash with the US takes place in Nashville, which is six hours behind London, on Wednesday morning UK time. Wolves, however, have the advantage of a Sunday match, against Burnley.
DeAndre Yedlin is set to be involved in Nashville for the hosts and will add to Newcastle’s worries – they have yet to win this season and also have midfielder Ki Sung-yueng making one of the longest trips by a Premier League player.
He heads back to South Korea for the Kirin Cup games with Costa Rica and Chile. The latter takes place at 1200 BST on Tuesday in Busan, a city whose clock is eight hours ahead of England’s. Newcastle host Arsenal at 1500 BST the following Saturday.
Tottenham’s Son Heung-min is also in that Korea squad, although at least he has only had to arrive from Indonesia where he was been playing in the Asian Games.
However, both men face a near-6,000 mile journey back, one which will take around 15 hours.
African players are not so hard hit in this international window with the second set of Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers taking place on Saturday and Sunday with only a handful of friendlies following on Tuesday.
Still, Mane faces a tricky trip to Madagascar – an island off the east coast of the continent with a flight time of at least 15 hours back to the UK.
Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez and Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi are among the other Premier League players heading to Africa this week.11 BUSINESS NUGGETS FROM SUPER EAGLES BRONZE MEDAL TRIUMPH. The content of this ebook will propel you above your competition. Buy NOW!!!