Aleksandar Mitrovic, Chancel Mbemba, Isaac Hayden and Ki Sung-Yueng are all absent from the club’s current pre-season training camp in Ireland – with Rafa set to hand several youngsters a chance in our first friendly of the summer on Tuesday night.
This has been confirmed by BBC Newcastle’s Matthew Raisbeck, with the Serbian and South Korean still on holiday after competing in the World Cup, whilst Hayden and Mbemba appear to be pushing to secure moves elsewhere – with the former handing in a transfer request and the latter waiting to seal a move to Porto.
In addition, it’s been confirmed that Jack Colback and Achraf Lazaar have both been left at home by Benitez, with the Moroccan training with the U-23’s – refusing to give up on his NUFC career according to the Chronicle.
With all six senior players absent in Ireland, Rafa looks set to hand a big chance to several top youngsters during our opening pre-season friendly with St. Patrick’s Athletic.
The likes of Sean Longstaff, Victor Fernandez, Callum Roberts, Josef Yarney, Adam Armstrong, Jamie Sterry and Freddie Woodman have all been training with the first-team group, so it will be interesting to see how they get on.
It’s a huge chance for them. With few players signed, one or two sold and several senior players yet to return, this is perhaps the biggest chance they’ll get to impress over pre-season.
No Mitrovic or Ki – on leave after the World Cup – or Mbemba here. And, as reported over the weekend, Hayden didn’t travel after asking to leave #NUFC. Five GKs in the squad, along with young players Yarney, Fernandez, Longstaff and Roberts
— Matthew Raisbeck (@raisbeck10) July 16, 2018
Longstaff and Fernandez are the two I’ll have my eye on in particular, with both having looked a cut above the rest when I’ve watched them at U-23 level – not forgetting the fact Longstaff has just come off the back of an impressive loan spell with Blackpool (scoring 9 and assisting 5 in League One).
The game is due to kick off at 7.45pm at Richmond Park, Dublin.