Newcastle’s captain United skipper Jamaal Lascelles returned to training after suffering that knee injury at home to Everton when he came off at half time, and Paul Dummett came on.
Lascelles did not make the trip to Bournemouth last week, but with the two-week International break coming up, Rafa didn’t want to take any chances with his center-back.
Ciaran Clark has also returned to training as has Rob Elliott and he returned sooner than expected with his back injury.
So it looks like Newcastle have a clean bill of health with only long-term absentee Sean Longstaff still injured.
Rafa Benitez with captain Jamaal Lascelles
Lascelles back in full training
Of course, we do have some players playing on International duty – like Rondon and Dummett – as examples so let’s hope they return fully fit.
Since Rafa joined Newcastle back in March 2016, he immediately identified the primary cause of injuries Newcastle players were picking up.
He had the old technology 3G artificial turf replaced with the more advanced 4G technology over the summer of 2016.
That, in addition to better training methods and ways to get players back quickly if they do get injured, has meant we are near the bottom of the Premier League injury table – and not perennially top of it.
It is just one of the many improvements Rafa has made on Tyneside – and it sometimes gets overlooked.
We hope Rafa will stay with us past this summer.