Sunderland AND Stoke City in Dubai at the same time as Alex Neil makes revealing admission

Sunderland head to Dubai for a warm-weather training camp during the upcoming World Cup break - and they will be joined over there by Alex Neil’s Stoke City.

Sunderland boss Tony Mowbray confirmed the plans last month, with Sunderland and their Championship rivals enjoying a mid-season break in fixtures due to the World Cup in Qatar.

And former Sunderland boss Neil, who left the club just weeks into the new season to join Stoke, has revealed he is also taking his squad over there for training.

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Neil told StokeonTrentLive: “I’d sorted out the trip to Sunderland to go to Dubai so they’ll be there at the same time as us.

Former Sunderland and now Stoke City boss Alex Neil. Picture by Frank Reid.

“When I came here we actually looked at potentially going to America in terms of the weather but you’ve still got Covid restrictions and all that sort of stuff so it makes it a bit more complex.

“To guarantee the weather and make sure we can still get a game under our belt when we get there, Dubai was the best option.”

He added: “A month is a really long time without any football so the first week we’ll have a bit of a break then we’ll go to a training camp and we’ll do a week’s training and get a game out there. We’ll get some minutes in our legs."

Speaking last month about the break and trip to Dubai, Sunderland boss Mowbray said: "After the Birmingham game the team will basically have a week's break to do what they want with their families, to relax.

"Then we're going to go and do some warm-weather training, and spend the week together as a group. We're going to Dubai, the weather will be good and so it'll be good for the players. For me it's about the bonding, I think it's really important that the lads who joined us six or seven weeks ago spend 24 hours a day with us rather than a few and then go off doing their own thing.

"It's important to develop relationships and do things together, and of course we'll be training together a lot,” he added.