Rafa Benitez has confirmed that Jamaal Lascelles is now fit to face Man City tomorrow, but Ritchie and Shelvey are both OUT – insisting that Mike Ashley is ‘welcome’ to watch the club train ‘whenever he wants’ after claims this morning that he’d never been invited.
Craig Hope’s exclusive for the Daily Mail (see it here) stated this morning that Ashley was ‘miffed’ that Rafa had never invited him along to the training ground, however this makes it quite clear that the offer is there should he wish to show his face.
Here’s what Rafa’s had to say on Mike Ashley after claims from The Mail today:
“The owner is the owner & he is always welcome here. We are a professional club who are open to anyone.
“He can come here whenever he wants.
“We have no problems.”
This clears that one up!
So, Mike, even thought it’s your football club in the first place (meaning you have every right to turn up to training even if you’ve not been ‘invited’), this is proof that Rafa has no problems with you turning up.
Then to the injury situation ahead of the City game and Rafa has confirmed that Jamaal Lascelles is back – however Shelvey and Ritchie have been ruled out:
“In terms of injuries, Shelvey is out, so is Ritchie. But Lascelles is available.
“He is an important player but it’s good for the confidence that players are coming back.”
Good to see Lascelles will be back – especially given the pressure our defence is likely to come under – however Ritchie’s tireless work rate and Shelvey’s ability to set us off on the counter will be a real miss.