Given Arsenal are on a nine-game winning streak, Unai Emery would be forgiven for lamenting the loss of his players to another Interlull, however, he insists it’s an opportunity for him to fully focus on the club’s next game against Leicester in two weeks time.
Although nine first team stars have been called up by their respective countries for a double round of fixtures, the Spaniard will still have a significant number of his squad to work with once they’re back from a couple of days rest.
“Every international break is important also for international team and for the players because they want to stay with their national team and defend the team,” said Emery after Sunday’s 5-1 win at Fulham.
“For us it’s also about continuing our work but with (more calmness) because we have two weeks, but my idea and focus is Leicester.
“Two weeks is more time to prepare for this match and rest some week like this week Saturday and Sunday, but for us it’s time for continuing our work everyday with [calmness].”
He added: “No [I’m not worried about the players going away], because I think our players have the habits to play a lot of matches in the week and we want it.
“We arrived very late [back from Azerbaijan] but Friday we had off to rest the players and Saturday in the morning the first competition for us is speaking about the match today and we worked 24 hours very concentrated to win against Fulham in this match.
“For us and the players in the international break they are going to play Wednesday, Thursday and travel. Lucas I think is travelling to Asia, so it’s a very long travel, but the players are at a high level and can play like that.”
By our estimations, 16 first teamers will still be kicking about at London Colney meaning training sessions should, with the help of a few Academy kids, be relatively normal.
Given there’s another Interlull in November, these regular breaks for some of our key squad members could well prove to be very useful as the season goes on and it in part explains why the coach hasn’t gone for a full rotation policy in the cup competitions so far.
First team players on Interlull duty in October
Croatia vs England, October 12 (UEFA Nations League)
England vs Spain, October 15 (UEFA Nations League)
Aaron Ramsey – (depending on arrival of latest Ramsey Jr)
Wales vs Spain, October 11 (Friendly)
Republic of Ireland vs Wales, October 16 (UEFA Nations League)
Greece vs Hungary, October 12 (UEFA Nations League)
Finland vs Greece, October 15 (UEFA Nations League)
Belgium vs Switzerland, October 12 (UEFA Nations League)
Iceland vs Switzerland, October 15 (UEFA Nations League)
Armenia vs Gibraltar, October 13 (UEFA Nations League)
Armenia vs Macedonia, October 16 (UEFA Nations League)
Gabon vs South Sudan, October 12 (African Cup of Nations qualifier)
South Sudan vs Gabon, October 16 (African Cup of Nations qualifier)
Nigeria vs Libya, October 12 (African Cup of Nations qualifier)
Libya vs Nigeria, October 15 (African Cup of Nations qualifier)
Egypt vs Swaziland, October 12 (African Cup of Nations qualifier)
Swaziland vs Egypt, October 16 (African Cup of Nations qualifier)
South Korea vs Uruguay, October 12 (friendly)
Japan vs Uruguay, October 16 (friendly)
Players not involved with their countries
Laurent Koscielny (injured)
Konstantinos Mavropanos (injured)
Ainsley Maitland-Niles (injured)
Eddie Nketiah and Joe Willock have been named in England’s under-20 squad for games against Italy and the Czech Republic and Emile Smith Rowe has been called up by England under-19s. Reiss Nelson, who scored his second goal for Hoffenheim at the weekend, earns his first chance at under-21 level.