Rafa Benitez has revealed that one of his players has had surgery, to try and ensure he will be fit again for next season.

Christian Atsu hadn’t been included in the last three matchday squads and the Newcastle manager says the winger has now had an operation on a knee problem.

The arrival of Kenedy kind of brought Atsu’s season to an abrupt halt anyway.

The Ghanaian winger actually played on the right hand side on Kenedy’s debut [v Burnley] on 31 January but the only other start Atsu had since then, was in the game at Anfield when Rafa played Kenedy as a left-back/left wing-back.

The United boss also said that Ciaran Clark has a knee problem as well, though his is only minor and the central defender is set to be available for both Spurs and Chelsea next week.

Newcastle don’t have the biggest squad anyway, so with Slimani also ruled out because of his ban, Rafa Benitez doesn’t have the widest choice of players, especially with three games separated by only eight days, at the end of a season.

At his Friday press conference, Rafa even mentioned Haidara and Gamez.

However, with the two of them set to be released next month, it is surely a waste of time to include either of them.

Even if it is the bench, surely far better to give one or two of the reserve team players a chance to be involved with the first team.

Rafa Benitez:

“Atsu has had an operation on his knee to be sure that he will be fine for the next year.

“It wasn’t a big issue but he had some discomfort and we needed to fix the problem now to be sure that next year he is fine.

“Clark has a little problem with his knee. We think he will be fine for next week hopefully.

“The others [outside what has been a recent regular first eleven] are fine, players that are not playing and players who are finishing their contract like Haidara and Gamez.

“They are doing well, they are training well, they’re professionals so they are fine.

“So it’s just deciding who to play.”

Watford v Newcastle v Match Betting:

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