We were hoping that Mikel Merino could even start the game against Watford tomorrow, but now that looks unlikely after he has been interviewed by nufcTV and he says he has trained for only one full day with the full squad – that was yesterday.
It’s unlikely Rafa will start him tomorrow, but he could be on the bench, and we have seen against Crystal Palace he can change a game when he comes on.
It also seems like the 21-year-old Spanish International suffered a fracture to a bone and disk in his spine.
It’s important he doesn’t come back too early with 10 games coming up through January 1st – we will need him fully fit so his return could be delayed a little.
Mikel Merino – could be too early to start against Hornets?
Mikel returned last Friday to Newcastle after seeing a specialist in Spain and doing some light training at his former club Osasuna the previous week.
This is what Mikel has said on nufcTV:
“It’s always hard not being able to play football, getting injured and having to watch the team while not being able to help.”
“But I’ve been trying to stay positive and put 100% into my recovery and I know that now it is not long before I will be back.”
“I’m now doing double sessions with the fitness coach to strengthen that and also my core. We’re also working to improve my general fitness.”
“I don’t feel the pain now as much as I did at the beginning.”
“Since I returned here I have mainly been training by myself.” “I had only trained with the rest of team in maybe two or three sessions which were not too hard for me.”
“Today I managed all of the training and I am very happy about that.”
“It’s now about seeing how I feel in the next few days and how I manage in each session.”
“My body feels stronger now and ready to step up and train harder.”
“I feel good because I can feel the improvements day by day and that gives me more strength.” “I hope I can be back 100% very soon.”
“I want to take my time but I want to help my team too.” “Giving it the right time is important and we all have to take care in the recovery from any injury.”
I know that the team is putting up a great effort and I can feel that from home watching the games.”
“The players are working hard and I can see that when I have come back.”
“Of course I want to play again with the team and help them.”
“Each day I am closer and feel stronger. Each day I work harder.”
We have lost all three games since Mikel has been out but it may be too much of a risk if he starts tomorrow.
Newcastle needs to break our three-game losing streak tomorrow against the Hornets.
And we should hear more about Mikel’s fitness this afternoon when Rafa gives his press conference for the Watford game.