Ahead of international duty with Serbia, Newcastle striker Aleksandar Mitrovic has admitted he respects Rafa Benitez’s decision to not include him in last Sunday’s squad to face Liverpool, revealing he is now ready both ‘physically and mentally’ to play again.
The Serbian has been in superb form for his country over their World Cup qualifying campaign, scoring six goals in six games. His early form for Newcastle was promising, scoring against Forest in the cup and West Ham in the league, however an elbow against Manuel Lanzini handed him a three-match ban following that 3-0 win over the Hammers.
We went on to win 2 out of the 3 games he was forced to sit out of and he would’ve been hoping to make his return against Liverpool on Sunday, however Rafa Benitez failed to include him in the matchday squad, picking Joselu to start with Gayle on the bench.
Speaking away on international duty, Mitrovic explains here where his head is at following a frustrating few weeks at club level, making Benitez known that he is now ‘ready’ to play again:
“I was punished for three games”
“The team did not play badly during this time so I stayed on the bench – which was the coaches’ decision.
“I am ready physically and mentally – I can’t wait for the match in Vienna.”
Considering he’s not kicked a ball in competitive football for well over a month, it’s good to see him sounding in good shape both physically and mentally, appearing as though he’s ready to impress Rafa again after taking last weeks decision on the chin.
Mitrovic’s Serbia are four points clear at the top of their World Cup qualifier group and look almost certain to be the automatic qualifiers, but as ever the striker will be looking to add to his impressive tally in qualifying.
His country may not be facing too much of a fight to qualify for next summers World Cup, however he himself has a battle on his hands to prove himself to Rafa Benitez at club level.
Will he turn it around at NUFC or do you feel he’s living on borrowed time under Rafa’s reign?