We should know within a couple of days how severe the knee injury is that Sean Longstaff picked up at West Ham on Saturday in the disappointing 2-0 defeat.
There was a distinct lack of concentration from some players in the first half on Saturday and the two poor goals we conceded cost us the game and all 3 points.
Our players must concentrate 100% in the final 9 league games if we are to keep moving up the league table.
Sean was seen leaving the London Stadium on crutches after the game and was wearing a knee brace as a precaution.
Diame had come on at half time for Sean and played well in the season half.
Sean Longstaff in action on Saturday during the first half
Jonjo Shelvey is also available after playing for Newcastle’s U23s away to Fulham on Friday night.
Rafa Benitez was asked about the situation with Sean Longstaff as reported in the Shields Gazette:
“We have to assess him in a couple of days,” “Obviously when you make a substitution, it’s because he was feeling something.”
“Yes. We will see how they (Shelvey, Ki, Diame) compete and train, all of them, and so after we will decide.”
“Obviously, to play 60 minutes was important for Shelvey, and the idea was to improve his match fitness, which hopefully it has done.”
“At the beginning of the season we were playing with him (Diame) and Jonjo, so we have different options,”
“Now we have Ki (Sung-yueng), Mo and Jonjo ready along with (Isaac) Hayden.”
“Hopefully, Longstaff will be fine.”
“But, if he’s injured, we have bodies to at least compete between them and see if we can at the very least keep the same level.”
Rafa could simply keep Diame in the side for the game at home to Everton next Saturday if Sean cannot make it.
The Toffees played well in the 0-0 draw at home to Liverpool yesterday afternoon and will be a hard team to beat.
Diame is also getting close to triggering an automatic one-year extension to his contract at Newcastle and has now played 24 times with 21 starts this season.
But he probably would like a two-year deal to end his career at Newcastle.
He will be 32 in June.