Rafa Benitez confirmed last week that Islam Slimani would be out of actions for another two weeks, however it has emerged from Algeria today that he could be set to play for his national side in the upcoming international break – something NUFC will be far from keen on.
According to Le Buteur, Slimani will miss Newcastle’s next two games but could be ready in time for international duty, with Algeria coach Rabah Madjer planning to include him in their Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Gambia (March 24th) and the friendly against Iran (March 27th) barring any ‘last minute setbacks’.
Given the issues he’s had with his thigh and the important role he could yet play between now and the end of the season, it goes without saying that everyone at NUFC will be reluctant to see him playing for his national side before he’s even kicked a ball for Newcastle! There’d be hell on if he returned have aggravated his thigh injury once again.
Slimani is expected to be included in the #ALG squad for the upcoming AFCoN qualifier vs Gambia. And if Tottenham win tonights' FA Cup replay, then the Leicester loanee is likely play for his country before Newcastle having been ruled out since joining due to a thigh injury #NUFC
— Ben Dinnery (@BenDinnery) February 28, 2018
After signing on loan from Leicester on deadline day we knew he arrived with a minor thigh problem, however few would have envisaged him being yet to kick a ball for the club a month on.
Not only has he missed the trip to Palace, Man Utd at home and last weekend’s draw with Bournemouth, but his recent setback looks set to rule him out of Saturday’s trip to Liverpool and the crucial visit of Southampton to St James’ Park on the 10th March.
We are due to play Spurs on Friday 16th March, however their likely progression to the FA Cup quarter finals will mean that game is rescheduled.
This now means he could be set to travel and play with Algeria in the mid-March international break before kicking a ball for NUFC, leaving Benitez to hope that he comes back unscathed for Huddersfield at home on March 31st – the game pencilled in for his potential debut.