Going into the season, Rafa Benitez would have expected his back four to look something like:
Dummett, Clark, Lejeune, Yedlin
34 minutes into Week 1, it was:
Clark, Mbemba, Lascelles, Manquillo.
Ah, the life of a Newcastle United supporter.
Here’s a rundown of what the trainers table will look like ahead of a trip to Huddersfield at the weekend.
DeAndre Yedlin: A positive note here, as Yedlin is back at training this week. Yedlin is still dealing with a bit of a hamstring injury, and he’s expected to miss the Huddersfield match. Javier Manquillo looked capable in his absence, all things considered, and he should continue to improve as he covers for the US International.
Florian Lejeune and Paul Dummett: A bit of good fortune based on what we all feared could have been a season ending ligament injury. The club released a statement on Tuesday morning explaining that Lejeune and Dummett would miss weeks, not months, with their ailments.
It was apparent right away that Dummett was coming out of the Spurs fixture as he closed down on Kane in the 6th minute. It looked like a pretty severe hamstring strain. With a hamstring injury, the trainers will want to move slowly getting him back to match fitness. As we’ve seen with Dwight Gayle in the past, rushing a hamstring injury is a quick way to be unavailable for even longer.
Toon supporters were fearing the worst for Lejeune after seeing him writhe around the St. James’s Park pitch after a bone-crunching Harry Kane tackle. Hearing that he’ll be out a few weeks is definitely a good report.
If anything, the positive out of all this is Newcastle seemingly have the cover to deal with 3 injuries to the defense. After years of bizarre injury replacements, Moussa Sissoko at left back, Rolando Aarons at fullback, Daryl Janmaat at center back, it finally seems United have a bit of a plan for when an injury occurs.
Sure, there are still holes to address — and it sounds like we’re in for another left back — but it’s an encouraging sign to see competent defenders come off the bench as injury replacements. Chancel Mbemba and Jamaal Lascelles should provide the necessary cover for now, and Grant Hanley will be a fine last gasp bench player for Benitez.