Newcastle United confirm 8 players who won’t be starting against Watford in FA Cup fourth round match
Supporters wait with interest to see what kind of team Newcastle United plays against Watford this afternoon.
With Manchester City and Tottenham to face in the next seven days in very difficult Premier League matches, that is a massive complication.
With injuries and international commitments that further complicates the picture.
Ahead of the match, Rafa Benitez has confirmed that today will be ‘too early’ for Ki Sung-yeung, Jonjo Shelvey, Paul Dummett and Mohamed Diame.
The manager giving nothing away though as to whether any of them might be in a position to be involved against Manchester City on Tuesday night.
Whilst Karl Darlow is now back training, Rafa says he won’t be in the squad against Watford, saying it is a choice between Dubravka and Woodman, though in reality he indicates he will be resting/protecting his first choice keeper whilst at the same time giving the 21 year old some extra first team, experience.
However, as well as those five, Rafa Benitez also stated that Callum Roberts and Jamie Sterry won’t be in the squad.
The manager gave two reasons: that this is tougher opposition than Championship Blackburn in the last round, whilst also saying he has more senior options available as Kenedy and Fernandez are both fit again.
The eighth player definitely not playing today is Yoshinori Muto.
He was suspended as Japan progressed to the semi finals of the Asian Cup this week but he will be hoping for a return to the team as they take on Iran on Monday for a place in the final. That final will be played on Friday and if they get through, Muto and Japan would face Qatar or the United Arab Emirates who meet in the other semi.
Rafa Benitez asked whether Mohamed Diame will be available:
“Not for this game.
“For this game, it is too early for Diame, Dummett, Shelvey and Ki.
“They will all not be available.
“We do have some senior players coming back, like Kenedy and Fernandez.
“In the last game (against Cardiff) we had players (Kenedy and Fernandez) out with a virus, so now we’re a little stronger.
“They (Shelvey and Dummett) are getting closer and sometimes, if there are a couple of training sessions and they feel well they can get back in the team…then they are very close.
“Darlow is nearly there but we have Freddie (Woodman) and Dubravka, he (Darlow) has trained with the team but this one is an opportunity for the others.
“It would not be a massive risk (to play Dubravka) but it is an opportunity to give a young lad a chance to fight for his position.
“Callum Roberts and Jamie Sterry won’t not be in the squad.
“Why? Because it is a Premier League team (we are facing), you have more players and you have to try and manage with a stronger team if you can.”
If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]