Aston Villa have several players off on international duty, from U-20’s level upwards, but here we look at the international break’s implications on the Villa first team when they return to play Hull City at the weekend.
Thankfully Mile Jedinak didn’t have to take a trip to jet lag city this international break. The Socceroo’s captain will benefit from Australia arranging their couple of friendlies in Europe, drastically cutting down on the punishing travel schedule Jedinak had been on earlier this season with Australia’s Asian Football Confederation qualifying groups and play-off, before a two-legged play-off with Honduras.
In the first friendly, Jedinak’s Australia got schooled by Norway in Oslo, getting beat 4-1. Jedinak didn’t have the best of nights, after being caught flat-footed for the home team’s third goal.
Australia’s match with Columbia, while an exotic encounter on paper, will actually be played at Craven Cottage, so he’ll have no worries when it comes to being ready for Villa’s trip to Hull.
Australia also will not have any pre-World Cup send-off fixtures back in Australia, with the focus on extending their European training camp before events in Russia kick-off.
Bjarnson though is very much collecting the air miles during this international break. Iceland have gone stateside to play two games that are directly geared at getting themselves ready to face Argentina in the World Cup group stages.
The first game against Mexico, in the Levi’s Stadium, the home of the San Francisco 49ers, didn’t end too well, ending in a 3-0 defeat for Bjarnason’s men.
The Villa midfielder was subbed off with five minutes to go, and now has headed to New Jersey where Iceland play Peru on Wednesday.
It’s very doubtful that Bjarnason will start for Villa against Hull (or even feature in the squad), due to him not arriving back until late Thursday/Friday.
Chester has also been on a long haul mission, having to fly out to the home of Tony Xia for the China Cup tournament.
Wales won their first game 6-0 against the home country, which Chester playing 70 minutes of Ryan Giggs first game in charge.
In the final, Wales then got beat 1-0 by Uruguay in the final today, with Chester playing 75 minutes.
With the time difference being ahead of the UK, Chester should be fine and not too jet lagged for Villa’s weekend fixture.
Scott Hogan made his international debut for Ireland in Turkey during the break. Playing 75 minutes, he failed to mark his debut with a goal, after a heavy first touch let him down, after he was put clean through on goal with only the keeper to beat.
Conor Hourihane also got over an hour’s worth of action for the Irish.
Both players should get some game time in Paris on Monday, when Ireland face off against their European Championship conquerors France.
El Mohamady stayed on the bench in Egypt’s late 2-1 loss to Portugal in Zurich, after Ronaldo scored twice in injury-time to turn the game on its head.
It’s likely Egypt will rotate a few of their players for their next match against Greece at the Stadion Letzigrund in Zurich, so Elmo should get a look in.
Jonathan Kodjia obviously hasn’t headed out to join the Ivory Coast for their games against Togo and Moldova, but he has played 45 minutes in a behind closed doors friendly for Villa during the international break.
There remains a chance that he maybe ready to feature towards the end of April and maybe a bonus for the Villa team, if they end up in the play-offs.