Rafa has said he may change a winning team soon because he wants to give chances to other players as he looks to the future at Newcastle – well at least to the summer and next season.
We were expecting an unchanged team for the fifth time in succession at Everton, but it’s possible that Islam Slimani could replace Dwight Gayle up front, who we thought linked up well in the win against Arsenal last Sunday.
At some point, before the end of the season, we should also see the forgotten Mikel Merino given a start.
Jonjo Shelvey and Mo Diame are playing so well it’s been difficult for both Mikel and Isaac Hayden to get much playing time this year.
Islam Slimani – could get first start at Goodison Park
This is what Rafa said yesterday as reported in the Shields Gazette:
“Now is maybe the time that some players need to prove themselves,”
“So maybe I will make some changes to make sure that some players are given a chance to impress the staff and then think about their future.”
“Some players are playing for their futures. Some of them will finish their contract, and others will finish their loans.”
“We can talk about Martin Dubravka, Kenedy, and Slimani. “Whether they are doing well or not, we need to see.”
“We have an opinion on that, and maybe they want to extend their contracts, or go.” “We have to analyze every single case and then decide.”
“It is not easy for me now, because we’re winning,”
“I was not changing the team, because we are winning, so if I change now then people will say ‘oh, Rafa’s changing a winning team’.”
“Yes, but I want to make sure we are doing the right things also for the future.”
Newcastle fans are expecting a win on Monday night – and that would be terrific!