Monday brought confirmation (see below) of a Newcastle United four day break to Spain.

United were due to play Tottenham tonight but with an FA Cup game against Swansea on Saturday lunchtime, Newcastle were left without a game this weekend.

So Rafa Benitez has elected to take his players to Pinatar Arena in Spain, where the squad will train and then play a friendly against Royal Antwerp on Sunday lunchtime.

There was no confirmation by the club of who had and hadn’t travelled to Spain but when training yesterday, photos showed the following players:


Christian Atsu

Ciaran Clark

Karl Darlow

Mo Diame

Martin Dubravka

Paul Dummett

Victor Fernandez

Dwight Gayle

Massadio Haidara

Nathan Harker

Isaac Hayden



Jamaal Lascelles

Florian Lejeune

Javier Manquillo

Chancel Mbemba

Mikel Merino

Jacob Murphy

Matt Ritchie

Ayoze Perez

Jonjo Shelvey

De Andre Yedlin

Islam Slimani was also spotted in Spain but he was training away from the main group, as he works towards full fitness, hopefully…

After the January transfer window, clubs had to name their new 25 man Premier League squads, the only players who could be used for the rest of the season.

Newcastle named only 24 but four of those players don’t appear to have made the trip.

The four that couldn’t be seen amongst the training images were Jesus Gamez, Rob Elliot, Curtis Good and Macauley Gillesphey.

Amongst those who have travelled to Spain are Nathan Harker and Victor Fernandez, so presumably Rafa Benitez is pleased with the progress these two younger players are making below the first team.

The Mag – Monday 12 March 2018:

Monday has brought confirmation of the Newcastle United break.

They are heading to Pinatar Arena and will play a friendly against Royal Antwerp whilst they are there.

The venue is near Murcia in Spain and spectators will get their money’s worth.

It is only 5 euros per ticket with children allowed in free, plus instead of the usual 2 x 45 minute halves, there will instead be 3 x 45 minute periods played.

This will give more players time on the piitch.

The match will be played on Sunday (18 March) with a noon (local time) kick-off.

Newcastle United official announcement:

Newcastle United will take on Belgian side Royal Antwerp in a friendly fixture during a four-day training camp in Spain this week.

The match will take place at the 3,500-capacity Pinatar Arena near Murcia on Sunday 18th March, with kick-off set for 12pm local time.

In order to give all of the squad valuable playing time during an enforced three-week break between Premier League matches, Sunday’s friendly fixture will be split into three periods of 45 minutes.

Supporters are welcome to attend the friendly fixture in Spain.

Adults’ admission is priced at €5 while children’s access is free of charge.’

Pinatar Arena:

“Newcastle United has chosen Pinatar Arena from March 15 to 18, taking advantage of their Premier League break.

“The team led by Rafa Benítez will perform several training sessions and will play a friendly match.

“Next Sunday, March 18 at 12:00 noon, Newcastle United will face the historic Belgian Antwerp at Pinatar Arena.

“Royal Antwerp FC will take advantage of their pre-play concentration in the Jupiler League to take on Newcastle.

“This international friendly match will represent the 100th match of Pinatar Arena in 2018 and will be played in the main stadium of the Football Center with capacity for 3,000 spectators and with a single ticket (price) of 5 euros.”

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    the Curious case of Chancel Mbemba continues even though he`s in Spain.
    A player who can cover the whole back line & defensive midfield yet left out of the match day squad in preference to a 2nd rate journeyman like Manquillo

    • Wor Lass

      That`s spot on. I`m a big Rafa fan and love the class he`s brought to the club in spite of the fat Bar Steward`s efforts to drag us down in the mud but his treatment of Mitro and Mbemba puzzles me.

      • thewildchimp

        Yeah. At least setup a few preseason friendlies and try to make them look good if you want to ship them. Mbemba might have become better than Lascelles if he was played. He certainly looked that way at the end of 2015/16 season!

    • HarryHype59

      Signing Manky was a strange decision. He struggled at Sunderland and he isn’t as good as Mbemba. Rafa could have saved his transfer fee and wages and put it towards getting a better CF than Hoss.

      • mentalman

        don’t say that, i said the exact same thing last week and got berated for it

        • MichaelMaximusMoose

          i wouldn`t have berated you because you`re right

    • Rob Brown

      Don’t you ever consider for just a minute that Rafa might see more of him in training than you do, and as such might be better informed?

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        Like Mitrovich against Joselu.

  • Wor Lass

    Super-sleuth Graham Porter strikes again!

  • Rob Brown

    Wow – what a banal, pointless waste of space article.

    You forgot to mention what the pilot had for lunch on the flight on the way over