Florian Lejeune played for 45 minutes for the Newcastle’s U23 side against Norwich City on Monday night, and he seems almost ready to return to the Newcastle squad during the heavy December schedule.
And once Federico Fernandez recovers from his slight calf strain we’ll have five center-backs vying for two or three spots in the defense.
And captain Jamaal Lascelles has not looked at his best in the last two games, but the manager believes his captain will soon return to form.
Rafa Benitez with Jamaal Lascelles
Benitez was asked in the Chronicle whether Lascelles would always be the first choice at Newcastle:
“No. Every game is different.”
“The players, sometimes they did really well in some of the games, and sometimes they didn’t do as well in others.”
“Some are suited to some games and some others.”
“So what I like to do is watch how they are playing, watch how they train, and then make a decision during the week.”
“If I have all of them available, I have to make some decisions.”
“That is not a big problem. What I say so many times is that, actually, it is good news for us. These kind of problems are good news for us.”
“I don’t think that the competition for places has had a negative impact on Lascelles.”
“Sometimes, if you make mistakes, maybe you lose confidence.”
“But he is competitive, so this week he was training really well trying to be sure that he was ready for the next challenge.”
“I think he is competitive. We have to realise we are still talking about a young player.”
“A centre-back, between 28 and 32 depending on the country, is when they can play at the best level because they have experience and still physically they are fine.”
“We are asking for too much sometimes from a young player in a team that will be defending the majority of the time.”
“So he will make one mistake and he will be exposed more times.”
It’s such a vital game at Huddersfield Town this afternoon, and we could really do with taking all 3 points.
Then we play Fulham at home next Saturday – another vital game for us with both Huddersfield and Fulham below us in the league.
We have to try to win both games and not lose to a side below us in the league table.