Tottenham FA Cup preparations set to be hardest hit by extra international window

Spurs will have three players away on World Cup qualifying duty next week, as will Aston Villa, Liverpool and Manchester City.

Heard the one about the January international break?

Well, it's no joke.

To ensure the World Cup qualifying process can finish in the summer, FIFA has created an extra international window. It will take place from January 24 to February 2.

The good news, if you are a fan of a Premier League club, is that despite having to cram in this extra date, your team isn't scheduled to play a match - as is usual for an international break.

FA Cup replays, which might have taken place then, have been cancelled this season and it seems highly unlikely that recently-postponed Premier League games will be rearranged during that period, even though FIFA has given the green light for it to happen.

Such a fixture would need the agreement of both clubs - and that won't happen given the number of players many are losing, on top of those already at the Africa Cup of Nations. The final of that tournament takes place on February 6.

Fred Emerson Man Utd Feb21

World Cup qualifiers will take place in South America, Asia and the CONCACAF region (North and Central America and the Caribbean), meaning some long trips for Premier League stars who have already had to endure intense fixture schedules this season.

South American and Asian players face two games during the January window, while those who play for CONCACAF nations are due to play three times.

With several players facing long flights back to England from the likes of Brazil, Argentina and Japan, there could be selection issues for managers ahead of FA Cup fourth-round ties due to take place on February 4-6.

Manchester United, who will have Fred and Edinson Cavani in South America that week, have landed the dubious pleasure of the Friday night game.

However, those with CONCACAF players will be most concerned.

Their third set of matches in the window won't finish until the early hours of Thursday UK time.

Christian Pulisic USA vs Canada World Cup Qualifier Sep21

That will make it hard for the likes of Michail Antonio, Raul Jimenez and Christian Pulisic to be back in England much before Friday morning. Antonio's West Ham have the lunchtime kick-off on the Saturday.

In terms of pure numbers, Tottenham, Aston Villa, Liverpool and Manchester City be hardest hit, although Villa are already out of the FA Cup. All four clubs will have three players away on World Cup duty. In Liverpool's case, they only add to the absences created by the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations, although at least Spurs do not have anyone at that tournament.

Let's take a look in more detail at which players will be involved in these forthcoming World Cup qualifiers.

Manchester City

Ederson, Gabriel Jesus (both Brazil), Zach Steffen (USA)

FA Cup game - Fulham H (Sat, 15:00)


Thiago Silva (Brazil), Christian Pulisic (USA)

FA Cup game - Plymouth H (Sat, 12:30)


Alisson, Fabinho (both Brazil), Takumi Minamino (Japan).

Not picked: Roberto Firmino (Brazil)

FA Cup game - Cardiff H (Sun, 12:00)


Gabriel (Brazil)

Not picked: Takehiro Tomiyasu (Japan)

FA Cup game - None

West Ham

Michail Antonio (Jamaica)

Not picked: Manuel Lanzini (Argentina)

FA Cup game - Kidderminster A (Sat, 12:30)


Emerson (Brazil), Giovani Lo Celso (Argentina), Davinson Sanchez (Colombia)

Not picked: Heung-min Son (South Korea), Cristian Romero (Argentina), Lucas Moura (Brazil)

FA Cup game - Brighton H (Sat, 20:00)

Manchester United

Fred (Brazil), Edinson Cavani (Uruguay)

FA Cup game - Middlesbrough H (Fri, 20:00)


Raul Jimenez (Mexico)

Not picked: Hwang Hee-chan (South Korea), Hayao Kawabe (Japan), Yerson Mosquera (Colombia)

FA Cup game - Norwich H (Sat, 15:00)


Alexis Mac Allister (Argentina)

FA Cup game - Tottenham A (Sat, 20:00)



FA Cup game - Nottingham Forest A (Sun, 16:00)



FA Cup game - Coventry H (Sat, 15:00)

Crystal Palace


FA Cup game - Hartlepool H (Sat, 15:00)


Ethan Pinnock (Jamaica), Saman Ghoddos (Iran)

FA Cup game - Everton A (Sat, 15:00)

Aston Villa

Philippe Coutinho (Brazil), Emiliano Martinez, Emiliano Buendia (both Argentina)

Not picked: Douglas Luiz (Brazil), Leon Bailey (Jamaica)

FA Cup game - None


Yerry Mina (Colombia), Salomon Rondon (Venezuela)

Not picked: Richarlison, Allan (both Brazil)

FA Cup game - Brentford H (Sat, 15:00)


Raphinha (Brazil)

FA Cup game - None


Francisco Sierralta (Chile)

FA Cup game - None



FA Cup game - None


Miguel Almiron (Paraguay)

FA Cup game - None



Not picked: Josh Sargent (USA)

FA Cup game - Wolves A (Sat, 15:00)

READ MORE: Chelsea, Newcastle or stay at Real Madrid? Where next for Eden Hazard?

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