Rafa Benitez has given his first pre-match press conference of the season.

On a hectic day the manager has had all sorts of subjects to cover as Newcastle prepare to actually prepare competitive football, after a very busy and positive summer off the pitch.

Amongst the issues Rafa Benitez covered, he says Jamaal Lascelles deserved to be named captain after ‘he passed the tests with great marks’.

When it came to the Newcastle squad numbers announced earlier today, the United boss says that two players wanted the number nine but Mitrovic eventually allowed Gayle to have it.

Yet another busy morning also saw Florian Thauvin head out to Marseille, on a loan deal with a permanent move clause.

Not forgetting the match tomorrow night…Rafa is wary after Fulham showed good form when beating Palace last weekend.

Rafa Benitez pre-Fulham press conference:

“The players are working very hard and they are ready.

Jamaal Lascelles is someone who has grown quickly. He takes responsibility and knows what it take to be the captain of this massive club. He passed the tests with great marks.

“We know the Championship is very difficult but we have the hope and belief that we can do well..

“I had a conversation with both (Dwight Gayle and Aleksandar Mitrovic) as they both wanted the number nine shirt. In the end, Mitro told him to take it.

“We have a lot of respect for Fulham. They beat Crystal Palace 3-1 and have a good manager. It will not be an easy game.

Florian Thauvin wanted to go, he trained well but we thought it was best for both parties.”

Travel Posters - Tyneside Prints