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Ndong has a ding dong in Gabon & which Sunderland players are on international duty this weekend

Sunderland have nine players from the current senior and U23 squads away on international duty. Here’s where they are and how you can watch their global exploits; plus who's upset our Didier?

Sunderland v Middlesbrough - Premier League Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Sunderland don’t have quite as many internationals in the squad now as they did just a few weeks ago, but nine players have left Wearside to turn out for their countries as World Cup qualifying games get underway around the globe.

Of those now departed, Dutch international Jeremain Lens is spending another year on loan in Turkey with Besiktas. The Netherlands play Bulgaria in Amsterdam on Sunday with the game live on Sky Sports at 5pm but the Sunderland man has been left out of the squad.

Wahbi Khazri will return to the Tunisian fold for tonight’s qualifier against Congo fresh from yesterday’s loan move to Rennes. The Sunderland-owned midfielder has not turned out for his country since a bust up following the African Cup of Nations.

The long departed Sebastian Larsson and Jermain Defoe will be in the Sweden and England squads which take on Belarus and Malta respectively over the weekend in World Cup Qualifying matches. Gareth Southgate’s men are on ITV tonight from 7.45pm.

Jordan Pickford is now too old for the England U21s and will take no part in the Young Lions games against the Netherlands and Latvia over the coming days.

Manchester City v Everton - Premier League
Everton’s Jordan Pickford isn’t in the senior English squad tonight
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

But enough about them. Who in the current squad is where in the coming days?

The pick of the World Cup Qualifying fixtures from a Sunderland perspective is Ivory Coast v Gabon on Saturday - a game which pits Lamine Kone against Didier Ndong.

You can watch the game re-run on BT Sport 2 from 6.30pm on Tuesday. The two Black Cats players had been expected to leave the Stadium of Light before the transfer window shut, but moves failed to materialise for either.

Didier Ndong playing for Gabon

Ndong was anticipated to continue as captain of Gabon in the absence of Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but according to reports in France, the Sunderland midfielder has been left ‘furious’ by an intervention from the Gabonese sports minister to propose that the arm band instead be offered to Cardiff’s Bruno Ecuele Manga.

For his part, Kone linked up with the Ivory Coast squad on Tuesday evening and having missed the last three international fixtures through injury, the Sunderland defender will be hoping to make his first start for Les Elephants since the Cup of Nations.

New Sunderland signing Jonny Williams is back with the Wales squad after departing the camp to trek to the north east to seal his move to the Stadium of Light yesterday.

The Welsh play Austria tomorrow at the Cardiff City stadium and with the game beaming live on Sky, Sunderland fans will be checking in to get an early glimpse of their new signing.

It won’t be much though - Williams hasn’t taken to the pitch in a Wales shirt since Euro 2016 and will probably be on the bench.

Wales Training Session - UEFA Euro 2016
Jonny Williams limbering up with Gareth Bale on duty with Wales at Euro 2016
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

The Republic of Ireland are in Georgia tomorrow for a World Cup Qualifier. Sunderland players Aiden McGeady and John O’Shea are in the squad with the latter handing Martin O’Neil a boost by declaring himself fit following a troublesome calf.

Darron Gibson hasn’t made the 24-man assembly this time around after making a return to the Irish fold for friendlies earlier in the year.

New signing Marc Wilson has 25 caps for Eire but hasn’t been in the squad since May 2016 and will be hoping to reignite his international career following his move to Sunderland. The Irish are live on Sky from 5pm tomorrow.

Defender Bryan Oviedo will be in the Costa Rica starting eleven that takes on the United States in a World Cup Qualifier this evening. The game kicks off at midnight our time and is being played in New Jersey.

Oviedo linked up with his country’s squad on Tuesday and will follow tonight’s game with another qualifier against Mexico in Costa Rica next Wednesday.

After Oviedo's recent return to fitness following that latest injury on international duty in the summer, Simon Grayson will be keeping an ear out for news of his left-back’s progress.

Bryan Oviedo playing for Costa Rica

Meanwhile, Black Cats youngster Elliot Embleton looks set to make his England Under-19 debut tonight for a game against Poland and Joel Asoro is with the Swedish Under-21s for Tuesday's fixture with Cyprus.

Goalkeeper Max Stryjek will be between the sticks for the Polish Under-21s this evening as they take on Georgia following confirmation of his season-long loan move to Accrington Stanley yesterday.

Despite recent exits then, Sunderland really do still have a lot of players with international interests plying their trade on Wearside.