Asian Cup 2019: Premier League players in international action

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Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle will be the hardest-hit by players leaving to participate in the Asian Games – though who else misses out?

The Asian Cup is now fully underway with the group stage matches having completed, with Australia eager to lift their second title in a row.

The likes of Japan, South Korea and Iran are all in action for the better part of a month after progressing to the knockout rounds, with several of their key players representing Premier League sides.

With the top-flight of English football observing no pause for the Asian Cup, a slew of players will be missing from crucial Premier League action as they travel to represent their national teams – but which players will be missing from club duty? Goal takes a look.

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What is the Asian Cup?


The Asian Cup is the second-oldest continental football tournament, with the competition held every four years involving teams based in and around Asia.

Previous editions have been held as a 16-team format, but this year's edition will feature 24 teams who are then divided into six four-team groups.

The 2019 tournament runs from January 5 to February 1 and takes place in the United Arab Emirates, with the last round of group matches played on January 17.


What teams are playing in the Asian Cup?


Teams participating in the 17th edition of the Asian Cup this month who have players who feature in the Premier League are Australia, Japan, South Korea and Iran.

The Socceroos are defending champions, having won the tournament four years ago, and will be eager to defend their title – though Huddersfield midfielder Aaron Mooy had been replaced by James Jeggo after an extended injury layoff.

Brighton shot-stopper Matthew Ryan is also a part of the squad, alongside the likes of Queens Park Rangers' Massimo Luongo and Celtic's Tom Rogic.

Ryan isn't the only player that the Seagulls will lose to the competition, as midfielder Alireza Jahanbakhsh has been called up to the Iran squad – the only Iranian player to feature for a Premier League side.

The most notable Premier League star to travel to the Asian Games is Tottenham Hotspur forward Son Heung-min, though he only joined up with the South Korea side for the final group match on January 16 against China.

Spurs had agreed a compromise with Son's national side over the player, as he already missed a sizeable chunk of the opening weeks of the Premier League campaign to feature in the Asian Games (with South Korea having won gold).

In exchange for letting Son feature in the Asian Games in the summer, the forward agreed to miss the first two matches at the Asian Cup, but has now joined up with the squad as they progress through the knockout stages of the competition.

Newcastle will miss out on the services of Ki Sung-yueng for the better part of a month as he joined up with the South Korea squad from the start of the tournament, with Yoshinori Muto also set to be missing from the Magpies after he was called up to replace the injured Takuma Asano for Japan in late December.

Ki stated after the World Cup in Russia that he was thinking about retiring from international duty, but has already been involved with South Korea.

Japan have also called on the likes of captain Maya Yoshida from Southampton while Leicester's Shinji Okazaki has been left out of the squad.


What Premier League games will Asian Cup players miss?


Ki Sung-yueng Newcastle

Son will not be missing as many Premier League games as his South Korea teammates will, but he is still set to see out several fixtures - such as matches against Fulham (January 20), Watford (January 30) and Newcastle (February 2), as well as the second leg of their EFL semi-final clash with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on January 22.

Rafael Benitez will rue the absences of his players as Newcastle have been handed an unkind start to the new year, with battles against Cardiff (January 19), Manchester City (January 29) and Tottenham Hotspur (February 2) all on the cards.

Brighton will have to play their games against Manchester United (January 19), Fulham (January 29), and Watford (February 2) without Ryan and Jahanbakhsh.

Yoshida has made the Saints' starting XI just four times this season but could be absent from the squad to Everton (January 19), Crystal Palace (January 30) and Burnley (February 2).

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