Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez hopes to have Jonjo Shelvey and Matt Ritchie available for selection after the international break. The Magpies have had to do without the midfield duo over the past couple of weeks, with England international Shelvey having missed the last three games in league and cup with a thigh problem, while Scotland star Ritchie has been sidelined for the last two with a knee complaint.
Benitez has now confirmed that both players have resumed first-team training during the ongoing international break and he is hoping to have the duo available for next weekend’s Premier League clash with Arsenal at St James’ Park.
“When you have players injured, the international break gives you some time to recover,” Benitez told the Shields Gazette. “They’re training really hard, and that’s good news for us because they’re getting closer.”
The enforced break has also given Benitez the opportunity to work with the members of his squad that have not been called up for international duty on a more individual basis.
“I think it’s a time you can spend with your players – specific players,” the Spaniard added. “When you have the whole team, you have to do tactics for everyone, but when you have half a team you can work with individuals.”