As suggested earlier this week, Islam Slimani may be playing for his country before he kicks a ball for Newcastle this month, with Algeria set to call him up for the upcoming international break – a decision that looks set to rile Rafa Benitez.
Slimani has been working hard behind the scenes to recover from the thigh injury he arrived at St James’ Park with on deadline day, however Benitez confirmed last week that he suffered a setback, ruling him out of upcoming fixtures with Liverpool and Southampton.
After the Southampton game on the 10th March, we’re set to face a 21-day break from football, however Algeria coach Rabah Madjer has made it known this week that he plans to include him in their Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Gambia (March 24th) and the friendly against Iran (March 27th).
With 27 goals in 56 games for his country you can see why they want him playing, but the Daily Star report that Benitez is not happy about the prospect of this, with fears that this could jeopardise his chances of being fit for our remaining fixtures in the race for survival.
The home game with Huddersfield on March 31st looks set to be the first time we could see the striker pull on the black and white shirt, but Rafa will seek assurances from Algeria before letting the 29-year-old link up with his national team later on this month.
There’d be hell on if he finally got fit, played for Algeria, but then returned to Tyneside with another problem. Times running out for the Leicester loanee to make an impact as it is, so you Benitez is bound to be wary.