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Rafa Laments Loss Of Midfielder But Praises Returning Star

It was bad news for Newcastle fans when they heard yesterday that Isaac Hayden was undergoing surgery  on his injured ankle and when asked how long he would be out Rafa Benitez said about four weeks.

And at the same time he said Vurnon Anita had participated in the training session and it is exactly five weeks today that the Dutchman was injured at Brentford.

Of course Anita has spent a career playing defensive midfield, but Rafa has turned him into a top class right back over the last eleven months.

Isaac Hayden – out for four weeks

Rafa trusts Vurnon because of his experience and savvy and he talked about losing Isaac, who has been great for us this season, while welcoming back Anita.

This is what Rafa said yesterday as reported in the Shields Gazette:

“Hayden had a little problem with his ankle that we were trying to manage,”

“But in the end he was not comfortable with it and we had to do the operation.”

“He was doing well, and was a key player for us. Now, we have to cope with the others.”

“Hopefully, Anita will be fine,” “He trained today (Friday), not a full training session, but he has been working with us.”

“He will give us different options.” “Anita was doing part of the training session, and he could maybe be ready for Monday.”

“If not, he could maybe be ready for being on the bench.”  “We will have to decide.”

“We are losing one player that was playing, but we are gaining one that was doing well before he left.”

“Anita was playing as a right full-back, but he is also a player who can play in three positions and understands the game.”

It looks like if Vurnon comes through the training sessions OK before Monday night, he could be on the bench on Monday night and it’s good to have him back so quickly after injuring his ankle.

Vurnon Anita in training

Jack Colback is expected to play on Monday night in place of Isaac Hayden and we hope he has a very good game and that we can win this game.

Jack has not been in form lately but hopefully that can change.

An intriguing move would be if Rafa plays Chancel Mbemba in defensive midfield since he played there for DR Congo in the African Cup of Nations in January in Gabon.

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Comments welcome.

1 comment so far

  • Lindisfarne

    Feb 18, 2017 at 8:47 AM

    Comment #1

    The Villa game is an intriguing fixture as their league position will not reflect their application. I do not expect they have the defensive organisation or the ability to constantly press high and break. They do have sufficient quality to challenge in midfield and counter.

    IMO Colback does not do well in these pressure situations and especially as Shelvey is likely to be man marked. I would expect to see the same team that played the majority of the game at Norwich, although Ritchie and Gouffran could be rested.


    That offers enough experience and ability to compete successfully and also enough opportunity to change personal if necessary, or game management.


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