Newcastle United confirm friendly as part of Saudi Arabia visit

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Newcastle United have confirmed details regarding their mid-season trip to Saudi Arabia.

Newcastle United have confirmed they will face Al-Ittihad in a friendly during their mid-season visit to Saudi Arabia.

Eddie Howe’s side jet off to the Gulf state on Sunday afternoon ahead of a week-long warm-weather training camp.

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The Magpies, who beat Leeds United 1-0 yesterday in just their second win of the 2021/22 season, don’t return to Premier League action until Tuesday, February 8 when they host Everton at St James’ Park.

Indeed, this will be Newcastle’s first time in Saudi Arabia, whose Public Investment Fund, chaired by Yasir Al-Rumayyan, own 80 per cent of the club, as United look to build further unity and togetherness ahead of their battle for top-flight safety.

And as part of the visit, Howe’s men will play a behind-closed-doors match against Saudi Pro League leaders Al-Ittihad on Friday, January 28, with kick-off time still to be confirmed.

What Eddie Howe has said about the trip to Saudi Arabia

“It’s a football decision,” Howe said, when asked about the trip to Saudi Arabia on Friday. “We’re doing it for the benefit of the players in our fight to stay in the division. That’s my only thought.

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“The distance is not too far. We have to take everything into account.

“We’ve got a big gap from our next game. I think we’re quite comfortable with the travelling and the effects that will have on the players.

“The facilities will be first class, we’ll be well looked after and the players, in terms of Covid, everything will be very tight.

“We’ll try and look after everybody, do some good work and come back even an even more united squad.”

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In a club statement, Newcastle were keen to point out that a number of European clubs have taken advantage of the Middle East’s warmer climes for training camps in recent years.

La Liga oufits FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Athletic Bilbao have all visited Saudi Arabia this month as part of the Supercopa de Espana competition.

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