We may not have Benitez or a single signing to our name, but Newcastle’s first pre-season game of the summer will take place today.
Our opening game of the Premier League Asia Trophy sees us place Wolves today, with the match set to be shown live on Sky Sports at 11am.
Here’s the squad both Ben Dawson and Neil Redfearn have to pick from, followed by the team we can see them going with come 11am tomorrow:
- Goalkeepers: Dubravka, Darlow, Woodman, Harker.
- Centre-backs: Lascelles, Schar, Fernandez, Clark, Watts (U-23), Bailey (U-23).
- Full-backs: Dummett, Manquillo, Lazaar, Sterry,
- Central midfielders: Shelvey, Ki, Hayden, Colback, M. Longstaff (U-23).
- Wingers: Ritchie, Murphy, Aarons, Allan (U-23).
- Strikers: Gayle, Muto, Sorensen.
With the squad we have in China and fitness issues in mind, here’s a few potential starting 11’s ahead of today’s game:
(5-2-3): Dubravka – Manquillo, Lascelles, Fernandez, Dummett, Ritchie – Shelvey, Hayden – Muto, Gayle, Murphy.
(4-2-3-1): Dubravka – Manquillo, Fernandez, Lascelles, Dummett – Hayden, Ki – Murphy, Shelvey, Aarons – Gayle.
Time will tell if Dawson/Redfearn opt to go with Rafa’s preferred formation consisting of three centre-backs, wing-backs, two holding midfielders and two wide men either side of a lone striker.
I left Schar out of my predicted line ups, but only because he returned back to training later than most players following his involvement in the UEFA Nations League. If he’s 100% fit and ready to start, I’m sure he will. The same applies for Sean Longstaff, however he seems far more likely to miss out after only just recently recovering from a knee injury sustained earlier in the year.
Forgotten men Lazaar, Colback and Aarons will be hoping for a chance to impress and will no doubt come on at some stage, but I can see the more established first-team players getting the nod to start off with – especially when it’s our opening game of the summer against very good opposition.
What team would you like to see start against Wolves today?