Newcastle boss Allardyce wants winter break for African Nations Cup

Newcastle United boss Sam Allardyce wants a winter break to cover for the African Nations Cup.

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"Losing players in January is going to be a big problem for me and everyone else in the Premier League," he said. Manchester United are a rare exception and are alone among the "big four" clubs in having no exposure at the tournament.

"In the early days [at Bolton Wanderers] it was a problem I always had and people just said that I was moaning about it and shouldn't buy them. But the fact is that they were the cheapest around with quality. Now a huge amount of African players have been brought into the league, so the conflict lies with Fifa, who will always promote international tournaments because that's where their bread and butter is."

The competition starts on January 20 and lasts until February 10, but Nigeria are invoking the two-week rule, which allows them to call-up players 14 days earlier. A break would also address the issue of player burnout, which Sven-Goran Eriksson regularly cited as a cause of England's difficulties during his time as head coach.

Allardyce said: "We've got to play eight games in that period and you can't tell me that's good for a player. We should give everyone a break. The African players would only miss a couple of games, we could get on with transfer stuff and players could recharge their batteries and you'd get a much more productive division. I understand about problems with the fixture list, but we're one of the few countries who don't do it."

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