Five members of Newcastle United’s under-21s group have been drafted into Eddie Howe’s squad for the trip to Saudi Arabia.
The Magpies landed in Riyadh on Sunday evening ahead of a week-long training camp that includes a friendly against Saudi Pro League champions Al-Hilal on Thursday.
United are preparing for the season restart, which begins with a Carabao Cup last 16 tie against Bournemouth on Wednesday, December 21.
Howe has arranged a “mini pre-season”, first returning to the Middle East having enjoyed a warm weather training camp in Jeddah at the beginning of the year.
“The break for the World Cup gives us the opportunity for a mini pre-season ahead of a crucial part of the season,” Howe said.
“Our trip to Jeddah in January was pivotal for us last season. It galvanised the group, and the hard work the players put in was rewarded in performances and results on our return.
“We will have access to world class facilities as refurbishments at our own training ground continue, and we look forward to facing Al-Hilal and playing in front of our growing numbers of supporters in the region.”
Every player available to Howe has been included on the trip, including Emil Krafth who is recovering from an ACL injury. Those at the World Cup won’t return until a later day.
And to make up for the loss of numbers from Kieran Trippier, Nick Pope, Callum Wilson, Fabian Schar and Bruno Guimaraes’ international involvement, Howe has drafted in youngsters Alex Murphy, Jamie Miley, Dylan Stephenson, Joe White and Jay Turner-Cooke.
Both Turner-Cooke and Murphy travelled with the first team in pre-season, the latter going to Austria and Portugal, while Murphy was also on the plane to Lisbon.
It is a return to senior involvement for White. The Carlisle-born midfielder missed pre-season through but has rediscovered his form in United’s second string in recent months following last season’s loan spell at Hartlepool United.