With players like Sean Longstaff and Isaac Hayden playing so well for Newcastle over the last nine games or so Rafa can’t leave them out of the starting eleven.
And since nearly all our players are now fit there had to be some surprises with who didn’t make the bench on Saturday against Huddersfield.
And there were with Muto, Shelvey, and Diame nowhere to be seen.
It’s a difficult situation for the manager, but Rafa is so strong-willed and will play the best team available in every game through the end of the season.
Newcastle do have an opportunity if we can put a good winning streak together to beat the 44 points we reached last season.
Rafa Benitez with Jonjo Shelvey
Shelvey didn’t make the bench on Saturday
And having won three of our last five league games things are starting to look up.
This is what Rafa has said in the Chronicle on his team selection on Saturday:
“My problem now is that the players who aren’t in the team have put me under pressure to make decisions.”
“It’s a pity but obviously you can pick only 18 players and some have to wait. Jonjo, we’ll see if he’s ready for Tuesday.”
“Obviously the match fitness is an issue at this stage.”
“Longstaff did well. Obviously, against 10 players he has more time on the ball and he was managing this time the ball really well.”
“His shot that hit the bar was a real pity because it was a great effort.”
“He’s (Muto) is doing well and training well.”
“In his case, we needed another one just in case to play as a second-striker but we’re pleased with him, he’s very positive.”
“He’s always working really hard, but he has to keep working hard to get in the team.”
We could see some rotation on the bench for tomorrow night’s game but we still expect the team to be unchanged from Saturday against Burnley tomorrow night.
It’s another vital league game that Rafa and the lads will go all out to win.
Wonder if we can somehow keep Isaac Hayden at the club in the summer, given how terrific he’s played since December?
Just a thought.