An integral part of the Rafa Benitez comeback plan for Newcastle United, was a structure at the club that would minimise injuries.
The United boss put in the work in the summer to build a significantly bigger first team squad than has been seen in recent years.
Then on top of that, Rafa Benitez made clear that he would rotate players to protect against injuries, as well as a determination not to risk players who weren’t 100% for potential short-term gains/possible long-term problems, as we saw so often under Alan Pardew.
However, Rafa says that with Rolando Aarons this week ‘in this case you can do nothing’.
The winger on his way back from the latest injury and getting a ‘kick to his knee’ in training – the result an ACL injury that will keep him out for some considerable time.
The Newcastle Manager reporting an otherwise clean bill of health before Leeds on Sunday, though no mention of Dwight Gayle’s four missing teeth after being punched unconscious, a story which only became public on Saturday morning.
On the positive side though, we will see both sets of supporters joining in with an 11th minute tribute to Gary Speed, let’s hope the actual match lives up to the kind of quality the midfielder showed for both clubs.
Rafa Benitez talking pre-Leeds v Newcastle:
“The international break is always better when you have all of the players available but I have to say, I was really disappointed because of the injury to Rolando.
“It was the first full training session with the group, he was doing well, and it was a kick to his knee. It is really bad luck.
“You try to control the injuries but in this case you can do nothing. It was a player coming back after some time, and he was working so hard to be ready.
“I was talking with him later on, and he has the support of all of the medical staff and his teammates.
“Now he has to just concentrate on doing what he has to do. He will need an operation, but after that he will do proper rehabilitation, work very hard and come back stronger.”
“They (the fans) will know better than me, because I was at another club, but I think it is a situation everybody can understand.
“He was a good player for both clubs, a big name, and he was someone who had the respect of everyone.”
Leeds v Newcastle:
“They are doing well, we are doing well, there will be a lot of fans in the stadium and I think it will be a massive game for everyone.
“It is the kind of game you want to play in and you want to win.
“They are in form, like us, and it will be very tough – it will be an interesting game.”
“I think Garry Monk is doing really well, (when at Napoli) we played against Swansea, and we beat them 3-1 in our stadium and drew 0-0 away. Both games were very difficult.
“I could see what he was doing there, and I can see what he is doing now. He is a good manager, a young manager and he is growing.”