With the World Cup strangely falling slap bang in the middle of the Premier League season for the upcoming campaign, certain clubs are set to gain a significant advantage with some player’s national teams failing to qualify.
From a player’s perspective, missing out on one of few chances they’ll get to participate in a World Cup is a total nightmare.
However, you can guarantee that whilst they won’t openly admit it, some Premier League clubs will be secretly rubbing their hands together at the prospect of their stars getting a nice winter break whilst their rivals’ risk injury and tired legs overseas.
The reason we say ‘some clubs’ is because there are a few Premier League sides that have gotten off rather lightly when it comes to their players making the trip to Qatar.
Naturally, the further you look down the traditional Premier League food chain towards the bottom end of the league with the smaller wage bills, the less international representatives those teams have – so that could be an interesting dynamic over the winter break.
Although, it’s not entirely evenly spread towards the top half of the table either, and a couple of the big hitters might have a distinct advantage in that sense.
Taking all that into consideration then, and to show you all the best stars that are set to gain a few extra weeks of rest across the winter season, we thought we’d create the best XI of Premier League players not going to the World Cup – check it out below.
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Best XI of Premier League players not going to Qatar
GK – Martin Dubravka (Slovakia) – Newcastle United
Slovakia failed to qualify for the World Cup this year, and so Dubravka will have to wait until 2026 to get his first opportunity to play in football’s premier tournament.
His compatriot and Fulham keeper, Marek Rodak, will also not be going.
RB – Vladamir Coufal (Czech Republic) – West Ham
David Moyes’ squad will be spread thin enough as it is whilst they try to compete both domestically and in the Europa Conference League, so Coufal and Thomas Soucek missing out must be a decent consolation for him.
Matt Doherty of Spurs will also not be going.
CB – Joel Matip (Cameroon) – Liverpool
Cameroon qualified but Matip will not be joining his country in Qatar. Liverpool’s centre-back had a falling out with key figures behind the scenes and hasn’t played since.
FA President Samuel Eto’o doesn’t want him involved with the tournament, something which could benefit Liverpool greatly.
CB – Victor Lindelof (Sweden) – Manchester United
Sweden reached the quarter-finals in 2018, however failed to qualify on this occasion.
LB – Andy Robertson (Scotland) – Liverpool
The Scotland captain couldn’t guide his nation to the finals after falling short at the hands of Ukraine in the play-offs.
CDM – Yves Bissouma (Mali) – Tottenham
Spurs signed Bissouma for a bargain £25 million early on this transfer window and it seems they could be set to reap the rewards all season long – not that it’ll be any consolation to Bissouma, though, who was just one victory away from leading his nation to their first ever World Cup.
CM – Naby Keita (Guinea) – Liverpool
With Henderson and Thiago likely to play key roles for their national teams this summer it could be down to a fresh Keita to spearhead the Reds’ charge through Christmas.
CM – Martin Odegaard (Norway) – Arsenal
Odegaard has blossomed into a key player for Arteta and his creativity could prove vital with Gabriel Jesus, Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli potentially playing big roles in their country’s set-ups.
RW – Mohamed Salah (Egypt) – Liverpool
Liverpool’s talisman just missed out on qualification at the hands of Senegal, the team that also defeated him in the AFCON final months earlier.
Liverpool fans won’t mind, though, if the back end of last season told us anything it’s that Salah is at his best when well rested.
It’s worth noting that Riyad Mahrez could also have slotted into this position nicely.
ST – Erling Haaland (Norway) – Manchester City
Odegaard’s compatriot and Man City’s new mega star, Haaland could give the Citizens a huge goal return when coming against the tired legs of World Cup worn defenders.
LW – Luis Diaz (Colombia) – Liverpool
Yet another Liverpool inclusion – we know which team could be in a particularly strong position come the half way point this season…