Newcastle United briefing: Watch Mikel Merino's latest goal, Rafa Benitez's 'pragmatic' approach

Mikel Merino
Mikel Merino

Two Newcastle United's players had mixed fortunes on international duty last night.

DeAndre Yedlin was left distraught after the USA failed to reach a World Cup for the first time since 1986.

Mikel Merino, meanwhile, scored for Spain's Under-21s in their 4-1 win away to Slovakia in a European Championship qualifier.

Here's our daily briefing:

Cup shock

Bruce Arena's USMNT just needed a draw from their final qualifier against Trinidad and Tobago to make it to next summer's World Cup in Russia.

DeAndre Yedlin

DeAndre Yedlin

But they went on to lose 2-1, with the result having been labelled as "the most surreal and embarrassing night in US soccer history".

Yedlin – who played the full 90 minutes – is now heading back to Tyneside ahead of Sunday's game against Southampton at the St Mary's Stadium.

Meanwhile, Merino netted Spain's opener in their win.

Danny boy

Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez

Newcastle have been linked with a January loan move for Danny Ings.

The Liverpool striker last week spoke about his future at Anfield after two injury-hit seasons at the club.

Ings is understood to be under consideration at United, with manager Rafa Benitez looking to strengthen his attacking options.

And a loan move could allow the 25-year-old to prove his form and fitness to Jurgen Klopp.

Sacrifices

Ayoze Perez has caught the eye at Newcastle this season – but not for his goalscoring.

Instead, the forward, used as a No10 by Benitez, has impressed with his workrate.

“Sometimes, you have to enjoy that side," said Perez. 
“Being a striker is not just about scoring goals.

“Sometimes, you have to make sacrifices and suffer a bit for the good of the team.

“You have to try to make your opponents uncomfortable, because that might lead to more spaces for the counter-attack.

“Against the top teams in the division, you often have to play in that way.

“The teams at the top of the table are very strong, and they know what to do with the ball, so you have to be aware of that and make sure you do your job to stop them.”

And finally...

Benitez has revealed his "pragmatic" approach to his job at United.