Newcastle United to visit Dubai for warm-weather training

Newcastle trained in Saudi Arabia in January

Newcastle trained in Saudi Arabia in January

NEWCASTLE UNITED will travel to the Nad Al Sheba Sports Complex in Dubai at the end of this week for warm-weather training, TGG can reveal.

The squad will fly out to Dubai after their Premier League match at Everton on Thursday (March 17th). The NAS complex has two Fifa standard pitches, a health club and spa (with altitude, climate and cryo chambers), an indoor stadium and IAAF-standard athletics track.

Arsenal used the facility during the winter break in January and a number of other elite teams and athletes have also visited in recent seasons, including Rory McIlroy, Novak Djokovic and Virgil Van Dijk. McIlroy - pictured below with Dubai's Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan, who owns the complex - has described it as "one of the best sports facilities in the world."

Manchester United regularly send their injured players there for rehab, with Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard among the visitors in recent months.

The upcoming international break means Newcastle do not have another Premier League fixture until their visit to Tottenham on April 3rd. While Arsenal were the only other Premier League team to travel abroad during the January break - to the same NAS Complex - Newcastle boss Eddie Howe was effusive about the positive impact of his side's warm weather camp.

The Magpies staff and players went to Saudi Arabia in January and Howe said the trip, which involved training and a behind-closed-doors match against Al-Ittihad, was crucial for team bonding.

Since returning, the team have won five of their six matches and climbed to 14th in the Premier League. However, Amnesty International described the trip, which was funded mainly by the club's majority owners, the Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, as “another PR opportunity for the Saudi authorities who are trying to sportswash their appalling human rights record.”

Speaking after Thursday’s Premier League win at Southampton, Howe said: “We might well go away. We’re looking at taking the group somewhere to build, really, on what we did in Saudi (Arabia) which was a really, really good few days.

“It really did unite the squad, I think the players felt that and you’ve seen what has happened since we've come back. The results have been very strong and the spirit very good off the back of that, so we’ll look at doing something similar.”

Other clubs had planned to travel abroad in January, only to change their minds because of Covid. Manchester City were due to go to Abu Dhabi, but the trip was abandoned following a Covid outbreak, with Pep Guardiola giving his players a week off instead. Manchester United had planned to go to Dubai, but Head Coach Ralf Rangnick called this off as well, again citing the pandemic.

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