After yet another ‘interesting’ summer Rafa Benitez has now given his Newcastle United squad a final shake and settled on a 23 man senior group.
At least that is unless he can make the signings he feels are still desperately needed.
The first four friendlies saw pretty much every player given some sort of chance but the last two games have seen the United boss get serious with his preparations.
Last Wednesday the starting 11 and subs for Newcastle v Wolfsburg were:
Elliot, Manquillo, Lejeune, Clark, Dummett, Ritchie, Shelvey (c), Hayden, Atsu, Pérez, Mitrović
and the Subs:
Darlow, Gámez, Lascelles, Mbemba, Aarons, Colback, Merino, Murphy, De Jong, Diamé, Gayle
Then on Sunday the starting 11 and subs for Newcastle v Hellas Verona:
Elliot, Manquillo, Lejeune, Clark, Dummett, Ritchie, Shelvey, Hayden, Atsu, Pérez, Mitrović
and the Subs:
Darlow, Gámez, Lascelles, Mbemba, Aarons, De Jong, Diamé, Merino, Murphy
As you can see, the same 11 players started both games, surely the team that will take on Tottenham.
Whilst the same substitutes were all named for the two games, minus Dwight Gayle and Jack Colback.
Both players were named as subs against Wolfsburg but were the only ones not to get a game, suggesting they could be injured. That has now been confirmed on Gayle and it looks to be a similar case with Colback, although nothing has been mentioned by the club/Rafa.
The fact that Rafa Benitez didn’t even bother adding any other players to the bench for the missing Colback and Gayle, points to the rest having no place at NUFC this coming season and the manager desperate to get them out.
Fair to say he would also like to shift others such as Mitrovic but that is not exactly possible at the minute, as he is the only available fit striker at the club.
So that means Rafa currently has these 22 players outlined above for his Newcastle United squad this coming season, plus the injured DeAndre Yedlin making 23.
You are only allowed to name 25 senior players (plus those who qualify as Under 21s) for the Premier League once the transfer window closes, so with the best hope surely of two or three more signings arriving at the most, this would take Newcastle up to that 25 player mark – none of the 23 players listed above qualify as Under 21s.
As for those who are definitely needing to find new clubs, that list for sure includes Tim Krul, Henri Saivet, Massadio Haidara, Curtis Good, Emmanuel Riviere, Achraf Lazaar and Grant Hanley.
The fact that players need to be moved out to help make way/finance new arrivals, means every day that goes by with them still at the club is a negative.
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