In this mad world, we live in there is room for more madness, it seems. That’s why we’re about to witness something that has never happened before: a winter World Cup. As if we didn’t have enough things to do to fill our cold days, FIFA decided it’d be best to dump even more hours of content into our schedules for us to consume.
That’s a first-world problem, though. More concerning is the fact that football will literally never stop this season in a campaign that started as early as the first weekend of August in England and that will have players from some teams—namely, those advancing to the final stages of the different European and domestic competitions—playing games without a single week of rest in their calendars.
Newcastle are, luckily for them, not one of those teams yet. And even though some top-tier internationals such as those pertaining to the proud nations of England and Brazil will most probably have to endure tough runs from now to the end of the 2022 calendar year, things will only get easier for them after the flip of that December page.
International games will resume by midweek less than seven days from now with Friendlies and UEFA Nations League matches taking place around the glove. We now know the full set of called-up players part of the Magpies contingent, so let’s quickly review those calls before moving on to the weekend action taking place at St James Park with Newcastle facing Bournemouth.
England will play two brutal games next week as The Three Lions are scheduled to face Italy (Friday) and Germany (the following Monday) as part of their UEFA Nations League season, however worth that is.
The new hipster competition might be of little interest to the coaches and the actual Football Association, but this is the last time for the English lads to get together before the World Cup and try their luck at playing some team football, so they’ll definitely be looking forward to those two games against other European behemoths in order to build up some chemistry ahead of the Qatar WC.
With England’s no. 1 goalie out for the next few weeks, it’s due time for Nick Pope—along with Aaron Ramsdale and Dean Henderson—to get their respective call-ups and fight for two of the final three GK spots that Gareth Southgate will have in his final WC squad.
Kieran Trippier shouldn’t have any trouble making the final cut after getting called up to play for The Three Lions in the next two Nations League games to be played over the next couple of weeks before club-football action comes back in October.
Staying in Great Britain, injuries forced Scotland international Ryan Fraser into the Magpies' last two starting lineups in their Premier League games against Liverpool and Crystal Palace. Fraser had only played 10 and 26 minutes against Nott. Forest and Wolves respectively prior to those two games.
Scotland has named Fraser as a member of its squad ahead of the next international break for the first time in nearly a year—the last time Fraser performed with the Scottish senior team was in a World Cup Qualifier taking place last October against the Faroe Islands in a 1-0 victory in which he started and played 82 minutes.
The Aberdeen native will be looking forward to playing his 15th and 16th games with his national team starting next week.
Young Lad Jamal has not played a single minute with Newcastle this season, yes, but we cannot skip his name. Not that the youngster, now at a ripe 24 years of age, needed any sort of playing time to make the cut at his native Northern Ireland, it seems.
The NIR squad will feature the full-back along with a bunch of other fellow Northern folks when they take on Kosovo and Greece next week and the following one. Jamal Lewis will hope those games turn into his 24th and 25th international caps.
Alexander Isak will lead the Swedish team next week. Now, for the shocking news, Sweden coach Janne Anderson named Emil Krafth among those to feature in the matches ahead for the Sweden senior team. That, obviously, makes no sense at all with Krafth having injured his ACL and most probably missing the entirety of the season. Of course, Krafth rejected the call-up and will remain in Tyneside instead of flying with the Swede team.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, still the face of the Swedish national football team, also rejected his boss’ call making way for Isak to lead the way up front and bag the Yellow and Blue goals.
Tite, Brazil’s head coach, made the headlines a few days ago when he decided to leave both Arsenal attackers Gabriel Jesus and Gabriel Martinelli out of his final squad before the World Cup. The Canarinha will face Ghana and Tunisia in the next few days ahead of the trip to Qatar later this year.
One to make the list, though, was Bruno. This was an obvious selection on the basis of the midfielder’s level of play since arriving in Tyneside last January. His call-up, though, wasn’t a lock to happen considering he’s missed the time of late and that he is still to play in a Newcastle game after missing the last three entirely with his last (brief) appearance taking place on Aug. 24 against Tranmere as part of an EFL Cup affair.
Looking at it from a positive angle, this (should) means that Bruno is about to become available for both his coach in Newcastle and for the Brazilian senior team and Tite over the next few days and weeks.
Another South American, Paraguay’s Miguel Almirón, will join La Albirroja next week trying to bulk up his already-high tally of 45 caps and 6 goals scored for the senior side of his nation.
Almirón is still ways away from joining the list of most-capped Paraguayan players (Carlos Bonet, now retired, has the 10th-most appearances with 80), although only three other active players from his nation are ahead of him on the all-time list: Antony Silva (48), Oscar Romero (55), and Gustavo Gómez (58).
Paraguay will play the UAE and Morocco in the next few days throughout the break.
Giant Chris Wood, who is having a tough season in terms of playing time in Tyneside after the arrival of Alexander Isak and his odd fit in Eddie Howe’s preferred scheme, was also called up by his nation of New Zealand.
Wood has played 208 minutes this season starting two games—only one in the Premier League—and scoring one goal against Tranmere Rovers in the lone EFL Cup match played by Newcastle this season. He’s coming off playing one minute off the bench against Crystal Palace on September 3, making it 30 minutes of action for him in the past two games combined.