Decide for yourself, but these comments suggest to me that the Spaniard is ready to hand Almiron his first start at St James’ Park tomorrow.
Rafa has also confirmed that only Rob Elliot and Ciaran Clark are out of this one, meaning he almost has a fully fit squad to choose from.
Here’s what the gaffer’s said on Almiron, confirming that he’s ready to start:
“Almiron is ready to start.
“It’s more good news for us. It’s a big decision for me to make.”
The Terriers have managed just 1 point from their last 12 games, giving us a huge opportunity to make the most of their poor form and gain an all important 3 points – and the decision to start Almiron or not has been the big talking point this week.
Benitez then offered a positive update on the injury front – confirming that only 2 players are injured, with Shelvey also making good progress:
“Apart from Elliot and Clark the rest of the players are available.”
“Jonjo is pushing now. Ki and Diamé are training well.”
Rafa also offered reassurance to Martin Dubravka – all but confirming that he will NOT be dropped ahead of tomorrow’s game:
‘He’s a great keeper, good professional. I was in contact with him after Spurs. I think he’s doing fine.’
“How he reacts is key. Martin has been training even harder.”
So, it sounds to me like Almiron will start – with the usually guarded Rafa giving us no reason to believe that he won’t be ready to play from the off.
Would you agree?