Premier League football has concluded for the forthcoming World Cup and will resume after Christmas.
Managers have had key decisions to make surrounding players’ fitness as they try to balance the latest packed fixture schedule with their international players preparing for the tournament.
Several players not attending the World Cup have been called up to play their nation’s friendly matches, though clubs have a say in the matter.
Leeds United, for example, have blocked goalkeeper Illan Meslier from playing fixtures for the France Under-21 side despite the youngster receiving a call-up. Leeds thought their ‘keeper deserved a rest after being a key man between the sticks over the first half of the season.
They were also set to reject Colombia’s request to have Luis Sinsterra feature in their friendly against Paraguay before he picked up an injury.
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Gnonto an exception for international duty
However, they have allowed their in-form Gnonto to be selected by Roberto Mancini’s 31-man Italy squad to face Albania and Austria.
It’s likely to give the 19-year-old the chance to gain experience from international duty and add to his six caps for the Italians.
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