Rafa Benitez kept it quiet before the game but DeAndre Yedlin wasn’t available due to a thigh injury.

The Newcastle boss had said on Monday that only Rolando Aarons and Isaac Hayden were ruled out of the Reading game but the United boss actually had to turn to his third choice right-back.

As well as the injury to DeAndre Yedlin, Rafa also revealed that after a first game since mid-January, Vurnon Anita was in no position to start on Tuesday night only three days after the tough game at Huddersfield.

Summing up the real strength Rafa Benitez has at his disposal, he was forced to turn to former Champions League and La Liga competitor, Jesus Gamez.

The 33 year old former Malaga captain gave a very good display in only his second league start for Newcastle, the only other when the United boss made wholesale changes before the Hull League Cup quarter-final, Gamez playing in the 1-0 home defeat to Blackburn.

Rafa says he had no doubts and that ‘Jesus Gamez has the experience and he was fine’.

It was the 15th clean sheet for Newcastle in the Championship from 36 matches and they remain the holders of the best defensive record in the division, only 29 conceded.

As for DeAndre Yedlin, it looks like it will be April before we will see him again.

Rafa Benitez thinks it is probably only a small tear to the former Tottenham defender’s thigh and that he will be out of action for up to a fortnight.

Newcastle have two games (Fulham home and Birmingham away) in the next 10 days but then a two week international break, before resuming hostilities when Wigan visit St James Park on 1 April.

As Rafa keeps reminding us, whatever happens in the meantime, there are still seven games to play in April (plus one in May) and so he will surely keep DeAndre Yedlin out of action until after this upcoming international fortnight.

The Newcastle Manager stated at the start of the season that he would be taking no chances with players when it comes to injuries and the team/squad have reaped the benefits, as opposed to life under Alan Pardew and the daft risks he took when throwing players into action and risking more serious injury.

Quite remarkable how few bad injuries Newcastle have had and undoubtedly that is largely linked to having a proper squad at the manager’s disposal, unlike the years before under Mike Ashley.

Hopefully the club’s owner is at last getting/understanding this particular message, amongst many others.

Rafa Benitez:

“Vurnon Anita gave everything (at Huddersfield) after six weeks without playing, so his match fitness was not the best and after Huddersfield he couldn’t play at the same level (at Reading).

“So we had to replace him and DeAndre Yedlin is injured.

“He received a knock at Brighton and it was worse than we were expecting.

“We thought it could be fine but when he played 10 minutes (as a sub at Huddersfield) he wasn’t feeling comfortable and we had to leave him out of the squad.

“Maybe one or two weeks, maybe has a small (thigh) tear.

“Jesus Gamez has the experience and he was fine.”

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  • Geordiegiants

    I know Gamez has been injured for a while, but I thought we would of seen a bit more of him this season. Just on experience alone I thought he would of been a big influence.

  • Paul Patterson

    Anita in at right back. Problem solved.

  • Wor Lass

    Anita and Gamez are both better defenders than Yedlin so there’s not really a problem. Two tough but winnable games coming up so keeping the defence tight will be a priority.

  • Alreet

    Anita has always been much better at right back. He was way out of place at center mid. Running about with no aim. Now he has a proper direction and is top notch. He should be our first choice but rafa prefers yedlin.

  • magpiefifer

    Sorry to see Yedlin out until April,he is a good attacking source – especially in home games.
    Fulham will be a really tough one – time for our home form to impove!!

  • Toon Army AZ

    The summer signings to add depth to this squad is paying dividends. First Murphy for Gayle, and now Gamez for Yedlin. NUFC has coped well with injuries throughout this season.

    Worried about USA’s World Cup qualification campaign without Yedlin’s pace…