Rafa Benitez confirms 9 Newcastle United players unavailable for Tottenham match
Rafa Benitez now has third placed Tottenham in his sights, four days after coming back to beat Manchester City who are currently the closest challengers to Liverpool.
Much is made of a Tottenham injury crisis, when in reality it is only because they have two or three high profile names such as Kane and Alli missing.
Nobody would claim that Newcastle have any players of that level, however, you can argue that the NUFC first teamers who have been unavailable, and continue to be so, are missed a lot more thanks to the lack of overall options Rafa Benitez has in his squad.
Ahead of the trip to Wembley, the manager has confirmed that in total, at least nine players won’t be available.
The full list being:
Almiron is waiting for international clearance, whilst Yoshinori Muto was a 62nd minute sub in the Asian Cup final earlier today, Japan losing 2-0 when he was introduced, eventually losing 3-1 to Qatar.
The other seven all on their way back from injury.
When you read what Rafa Benitez says (see below), it sounds like Diame, Joselu and Darlow will all definitely be available for Wolves a week on Monday (11 February).
For Shelvey, Ki, Dummett and Elliot, whilst Rafa speaks positively about them in relation to that Wolves game, reading between the lines you would be surprised if he risked any of them.
Muto of course should be fine for Wolves match in 10 days time having had some recovery time, whilst with Almiron, it will be a case of the manager only putting him in when he is sure he is ready.
With nobody able to come back tomorrow, it is interesting that Rafa Benitez still let Roberts and Murphy go out on loan. They were both on the bench for Manchester City but Benitez seeig the bigger picture and getting them elsewhere for regular football, knowing that after this Spurs game his options should increase.
The manager states Barreca is in the squad for Tottenham and little surprise even if he doesn’t end up being used, there are so few other options to go on the bench, he may as well get some kind of a matchday experience to help him settle in.
It feels very much a progression.
Rafa accepting that these are the limited options for Tottenham, then adding at least a few more for Huddersfield in 10 days time, before in three weeks time, the home game against Huddersfield on Saturday 23 February, having a more or less full squad to choose from, including both Almiron and Barreca fully integrated.
That win over Man City has been such a massive bonus and will hopefully give a great starting point for Rafa’s squad to attack the remainder of this season.
“Diame, Darlow and Joselu have all been training but are not ready for the game.
“Dummett, Ki, Elliot and Shelvey are very close and I am quite positive, they will hopefully be available against Wolves.
“Barecca is in the squad but Almirón cannot play (against Tottenham).
“We have players coming back from injury who are very close.
“So what I can see for the next 14 games is that we are better equipped.
“I am pragmatic, realistic and I think we have the balance.
“We are in a better position, so I’m happier than I was before (this January transfer window).”
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