Everton stars hit the training pitch and meet fans at their Dubai camp

Sport360 staff 17/02/2018
Gylfi Sigurddson (c) training for Everton (all Everton).

Premier League-outfit Everton have taken advantage of a break in the football calendar and headed to Dubai for some revitalising warm-weather training.

Overseen by regular UAE visitor and manager Sam Allardyce, the players are being put through their paces at Nad Al Sheba Sports Complex.

Here, we have a gallery of the latest pictures.

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Everton manager Sam Allardyce embraces chance to recharge in Dubai

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Everton manager Sam Allardyce (c) overseeing training at Nad Al Sheba (Everton).

Everton have played 40 games already this season, so taking the opportunity this week to come to Dubai for some warm-weather training will have some clear benefits.

It is something I have done at every club I have been at over the past 15 to 20 years and I tend to find that trips of this nature prove beneficial for a variety of reasons.

From a training perspective, it is great to be able to spend time at such a fantastic facility. The gym, the playing surface and the general conditions at our temporary training base are absolutely magnificent.

When we left England it was minus-one, so if we were training at USM Finch Farm it would be gloves, snoods and tracksuits on and the reality is when it is freezing cold like that the players cannot wait to get back into the warmth as soon as training is over.

But here the temperature is very reasonable at this time of the year, which means the lads feel comfortable and enjoy working in this environment, to the point where they do not want to stop. They will continue to train for as long as you want them to.

Having that feel-good factor is important because psychology is everything to a player.

This is an opportunity for them to recharge their batteries, not just physically but also mentally, which is so crucial in a sport where mental agility and decision-making processes are key to performance.

A break like this is also particularly beneficial to those players coming back from injury because they can spend large amounts of time doing the right things to recover. They can work in the morning, in the afternoon and evening. Because they don’t have to get home to their families, they can speed up their recovery by the amount of work they do with the rehab lads and the physios.

Gylfi Sigurdsson (c) training at NAS Sports Complex (Everton).

Gylfi Sigurdsson (c) training at NAS Sports Complex (Everton).

Then there is the team-bonding aspect of a trip like this, which should not be underestimated.

The value of talking together, away from the normal, day-to-day working environment, is perhaps not emphasised as much as it should be. It is about understanding each other as people, not just as footballers, which ultimately leads to stronger relationships.

Having that time together is especially important for us because the club has experienced lots of changes this season, not just in terms of myself and the backroom staff coming in, but also in the make-up of the squad, with many new players arriving and others moving on.

Spending time in each other’s company will bring us closer together as a group, which in turn should make us better equipped to face the challenges that lie ahead.

Of course, despite all the hard work we have put in over the past few days, there are no guarantees in football and certainly not in the Premier League where it is difficult to predict a result from one week to the next.

All we can do is prepare in the best way possible so the players are raring to go when we face Watford next weekend.

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Man United boss Jose Mourinho says new midfielder will replace Michael Carrick not Paul Pogba

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Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has revealed his intention to sign another central midfielder in the next transfer window, but as a replacement for Michael Carrick not Paul Pogba.

Mourinho spent the majority of his Friday press conference ahead of the club’s FA Cup fifth-round tie with Huddersfield Town angrily responding to questions over Pogba’s future at the club amid speculation of a rift between him and the player.

French publication L’Equipe claimed Pogba, who rejoined united from Juventus for £89.3 million (Dhxm) in August 2016, had been unhappy in a more defensive role in the team and saw his future away from Old Trafford.

Pogba has struggled for form in recent weeks and Mourinho substituted the 24-year-old in two of United’s last three matches.

Mourinho, however, hit back at what believes are “lies” regarding the France international before he later talked about his desire to strengthen midfield with Carrick, 36, set to retire at the end of the season and take up a role on united’s coaching staff.

“We need to sign a midfield player,” said Mourinho. “Because we are going to lose Michael Carrick. Of course, we need balance in the team.

“Some of you (the media) keep saying that we are going to buy that striker, that winger, that left winger, that right winger.”

The Portuguese boss added: “You can accuse me of many things, but you cannot say that I lied to you. When I don’t want to say things, I don’t say (them). But I don’t take you in other directions.

“We are looking and we are going to try to sign a midfield player.”

‘McTominay didn’t arrive from the moon’

Scott McTominay

Carrick himself has talked up 21-year-old Scott McTominay as a potential replacement, and Mourinho insisted he is aware of the academy graduate’s ability having utilised him in 12 games this season.

“Scott McTominay didn’t arrive here from the moon,” added the former Chelsea boss. “Before he came to the first-team he trained with us many times last season.

“He came to us in pre-season and then we realised that with Andreas Pereira going to Valencia, we decided not to buy another player because we had Scott McTominay ready to step up.

“The objective of having a squad that is not so big is exactly to be open for this.

United, second in the Premier League but a huge 16 points adrift of leaders Manchester City, face a crunch period of matches after Saturday’s clash. These include a two-legged Champions League tie against Sevilla and league games with top four rivals Chelsea and Liverpool.

Mourinho, however, insisted united will not treat the FA Cup – which he won while at Chelsea in 2007 — lightly.

“Let’s go step by step. The next one is the one that, on Saturday at 7.30pm (1930 GMT), we are out of the FA Cup or we are in the quarter-final draw,” he said.

“It is black or white. It’s not grey. That is really important because it’s a knockout match. We are going to face the game in the best possible way.

“Sevilla is half of a knock-out, so not so crucial as Huddersfield, but almost.

“We are going to try, we are going to try. The Champions League is more difficult than the Europa League, we all know that.

“And the FA Cup in this moment, I believe all the top teams, I think only Liverpool and Arsenal are out. A nice draw for Chelsea, for Man City, for Tottenham.

“Top teams are going to be in the quarter-final. Let’s make sure we are there too, but even the FA Cup will be tough,” he added.

Provided by AFP Sport

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