Eddie Howe explains thinking behind Newcastle United's training camp in Saudi Arabia

Eddie Howe has given his view on Newcastle United’s training camp in Saudi Arabia.

Howe and his players travelled to Jeddah at the weekend after beating Leeds United 1-0 at Elland Road.

The relegation-threatened team will play a friendly against Saudi Pro League leaders Al-Ittihad on Friday before returning to Tyneside ahead of the February 8 home game against Everton.

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There were accusations of “sportswashing” following October’s takeover, which saw Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund took an 80% stake in the Premier League club.

And the country’s human rights record has again been highlighted ahead of the week-long trip, which was arranged in the wake of Newcastle’s FA Cup exit.

Howe didn’t answer questions on the club’s Saudi ownership following his November appointment.

And, for the club’s head coach, the training camp is an opportunity for him and his coaching team to get to know the squad better following his appointment in November – and to get some work done on the training pitch.

Howe said: "I’m certainly not going to get a sun tan, looking at me! But I hope to get a really good, positive vibe, and I think the result will help that.

Eddie Howe at Elland Road.

"Hopefully, the trip will be a really worthwhile experience in the respect that wen can get to know each other better, I’ve been here such a short time. I can get to know everyone, the staff, the players. They can get to know us, and yeah, hopefully, we can come back an even more united group.”

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