Mohamed Diame made headlines in the international break but it wasn’t for Senegal.
The midfielder retired from playing for his country midway through last season, though as he hadn’t been getting a game for sometime it wasn’t exactly a blow.
Senegal actually doing very well in his absence, unbeaten in their qualification group and one point from their two remaining matches will be enough to send them to Russia next summer.
Newcastle fans woke last week to news of a training bust-up, a fight between Jamaal Lascelles and Mohamed Diame reported to have been sparked after the captain repeatedly called the midfielder ‘lazy’ during a training session. Jonjo Shelvey”s broken finger said to be the net result after he got in between the pair.
Diame was a massive disappointment last season, contributing only three goals and three assists despite making 37 Championship appearances (10 of them as a sub) mainly in the free role behind the lone striker.
Despite sharing the games in that position with Ayoze Perez last season, Mohamed Diame hasn’t started a single Premier League match after looking really poor in pre-season.
Rafa Benitez has seemingly been left with little choice but to start Ayoze Perez in all 7 league games after failing to find a new number 10 on his tight summer budget.
Diame says that he is being kept out of the team because all of the starting eleven ‘have been doing brilliantly’ and says ‘I need to work harder for the team’ if he is to stand a chance of getting a game.
The former Hull player says he needs to ‘show I’m ready’ and in that respect he says ‘my legs are back, I’m just waiting’.
He has done nothing in his five brief cameo appearances, 47 minutes in total, from the bench, but with a lack of options no doubt Rafa Benitez will have to use him at some point.
Interesting to see on Sunday who Rafa Benitez chooses, not just in his first 11 but the bench as well, in light of the Diame incident with Jamaal Lascelles.
“Ayoze Perez is playing very well – to be honest all of the team are doing great.
“We have started most of the games with the same eleven because they have been doing brilliantly.
“If they are doing brilliantly it is good for everyone, I need to work harder for the team.
“I just have to be patient, keep working, show at every single training session that I want to play.
“When I come on, I need to show I’m ready and want to play like everyone.
“I have got my legs now, my legs are back, I’m just waiting. I’m being patient. I have to make sure I’m ready for when the manager needs me.
“When your moment comes you have to be ready – that is the most important thing.”