After the 4 day break in southern Spain, Rafa Benitez seemed pleased with what the squad had achieved, and it ended up with a 1-1 draw against Royal Antwerp yesterday in a game which lasted 135 minutes at the Pinitar Arena.
The International break has started, and Newcastle have DeAndre Yedlin (USA), Chancel Mbemba (Democratic Republic of Congo), Mikel Merino (Spain U21s) Matt Ritchie (Scotland), Martin Dubravka (Slovakia), Islam Slimani (Algeria), and Christian Atsu (Ghana) on International duty.
Our goalkeeper Dubravka is playing in Thailand with Slovakia, so he’s going to earn some frequent flyer points in the next week or so – it’s a 12,000 round-trip – all for some (meaningless) friendly games.
Martin Dubravka – 12,000 round trip to Thailand for a friendly game
Like all club managers during the International breaks, Rafa Benitez will be holding his breath hoping none of our players are injured.
This is what Rafa has said in the Chronicle today:
“It’s the worst thing for us because you have to keep an eye all the time, checking everyone, and then after every game see if they are fine or played or didn’t play.”
“When they’ve finished it’s still if they will come back in time or will come back tired.”
“Again I will say we have some experience on that. We cannot change anything. We are aware of everything, and that’s it.”
“You need to talk with the medical staff or coaches, you can try, but some of them are so far away that it’s impossible to have any control.”
We just have to hope that none of our players gets injured.
The good news is that we have a relatively clean bill of health at the moment.
But Karl Darlow picked up a slight injury during the camp and Rob Elliot didn’t go because of a back problem – hopefully, they will be OK by March 31st when we play Huddersfield Town.
And Islam Slimani is being nursed back to fitness with every caution being taken; so we hope he’s fit for the Huddersfield game.