English football has gone into hibernation for the next six weeks as the first winter World Cup cranks into action.

In total, 135 players from the Premier League alone have been called up for the tournament, across 28 of the 32 competing countries — ranging from 16 call-ups for Manchester City, to just two for the likes of Southampton, Bournemouth and Crystal Palace.

But while competitive matches may have ended, work has not ceased entirely. From warm weather training camps in the Middle East, to high-profile friendlies in Australia, every club has drawn up a plan to ensure their players who are not in Qatar stay fresh.

We run the rule over each Premier League club, plus those our experts cover in the Championship, to track who is doing what before football resumes in earnest just before Christmas.




Players going: Gabriel Jesus, Gabriel Martinelli (both Brazil), Takehiro Tomiyasu (Japan), Granit Xhaka (Switzerland), William Saliba (France), Matt Turner (USA), Aaron Ramsdale, Ben White, Bukayo Saka (all England), Thomas Partey (Ghana)

Arsenal’s non-World Cup players will be given a couple of weeks of holiday. They will return to London Colney for some training on home turf before heading to Dubai in early December for a winter training camp. This is aimed to replicate the successful trip last season when families were invited, to make the tour a combination of relaxation and retuning. Arsenal are due to play friendlies against Lyon and AC Milan while in Dubai. 

Any players whose nations drop out of the World Cup after the group stage, or in the early knockout rounds, will make the short trip from Qatar to UAE to join the group on tour. There they will be allowed some family time and a short break before being re-integrated into the squad. 

When they return to London, Arsenal are planning for another warm-up game for the restart at the Emirates on the same weekend as the World Cup final. 


Aston Villa

Players going: Leander Dendoncker (Belgium), Jan Bednarek, Matty Cash (both Poland), Emiliano Martinez (Argentina)

Those players not travelling to the World Cup will be given 10 days off before a round of friendly fixtures begin. One of the fixtures already scheduled is against Cardiff City for the Peter Whittingham Memorial on November 30. 

Villa then jet off to Dubai for a warm-weather training camp in early December. The aim is for Unai Emery to get some more time with the players on the training pitch but also get to know them better in an environment away from Bodymoor Heath. Discussions around friendly games in UAE are also taking place, with one match already set up against Brighton, who are staying in the same resort.

Villa have also scheduled a friendly against Emery’s former club, Villarreal, on December 15 ahead of the Boxing Day return to Premier League action