Eddie Howe insists that Newcastle trip to Saudi Arabia is for footballing reasons
I'm sure it is Eddie
Newcastle boss Eddie Howe has said that Newcastle United's mid-season trip to Saudi Arabia is a "football decision."
The Magpies will make the trip to the Middle East where they will be based in the country's capital, Riyadh for a week during the World Cup and also face Al-Hilal in a friendly on December 8.
This will be the second time Newcastle have visited Saudi Arabia since they were purchased by the Public Investment Fund, a Saudi state-owned wealth fund.
There last trip saw the North East club accused of sportswashing and in the wake of further criticism to come, Newcastle boss Howe has insisted that they are only going for footballing reasons, despite Saudi Arabia receiving huge backlash for it's appalling human rights records.
He said: "First and foremost, when you look back to last year, our decision to go there and the benefit it had for the team and the results on our return were really good. So we got a few positive connotations from that.
"Going back to our trip last year, the weather was very good, the facilities were first class, we were able to spend some quality time together to bond the group and really focus our energies on our battle to stay in the division.
"The team spirit off the back of that trip was very, very good. Obviously we have that positive experience to fall back on and it’s helped with our decision this time. We are going to play one game there at this moment.
"We’ve made a football decision. We’ve looked at the World Cup break, what’s the best thing for the team."
Newcastle are sixth in the Premier League and take on Tottenham Hotspur this Sunday.
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