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Do Premier League footballers get a proper break?

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Sadio Mane came on as a substitute in Liverpool’s opening Premier League game 21 days after he finished his 2018-19 season

In the UK, August is traditionally a time when families get away for breaks in the school summer holidays.

But should we spare a thought for footballers, who have been back at work for weeks without any prospect of a holiday for nearly 12 months?

Liverpool’s Sadio Mane has highlighted the issue saying he’s not had a proper break for seven years, after spending most of July helping Senegal reach the Africa Cup of Nations final.

BBC Sport takes a look at how footballers have shifted from R&R to a summer slog.

So how much rest and recuperation do players actually get?

The majority of Premier League players were officially on holiday the day after last term’s final fixture on Sunday 12 May.

However, there were delays for the Manchester City and Watford players involved in the FA Cup final the following weekend as well as the Liverpool and Tottenham squads whose final game arrived in the Champions League final in Madrid on 1 June.

And that was before the Nations League, Copa America and Africa Cup of Nations added another tier of games for the likes of Mane, who played 57 domestic, European and International fixtures in just over 11 months during 2018-19.

That meant the 27-year-old began training for the new campaign on Monday 5 August – just 17 days after finishing the previous one.

“I think I am ready,” said Mane, who found himself in a similar situation 12 months ago after playing in the World Cup in Russia.

“Time is scarce. I have been playing for a long time. I haven’t had holidays of over 20 days for seven years but I am used to it. I am ready. I am here now so let’s do it.”

Mane’s team-mates Alisson, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Naby Keita were among the Premier League players to feature in summer tournaments, cutting short their respective pre-seasons.

But even for players not involved in tournaments there is an expectation to train in the off-season