Rafa Benitez says the failure of Newcastle United’s stars to appear at Euro 2016 has worked out for the best for the club, writes Ross Gregory.
The Magpies have just one player in the tournament in France, midfielder Moussa Sissoko.
And it means that the rest of the squad should all be back at the club’s Benton base on Friday when the team returns for pre-season training.
Benitez and his coaches will begin working with the players to get them in shape physically and tactically for a tilt at the Championship after last season’s relegation.
They will have just five weeks to prepare before they kick off at Fulham on August 5, and the fact only France star Sissoko is away is a positive for the Toon boss.
He said: “It’s much better just having one player away, especially for the coaches, so we can start working with our ideas.”
The failure of Holland to qualify meant Daryl Janmaat, Georginio Wijnaldum and Vurnon Anita missed out on potentially playing at the Euros, while Andros Townsend was left out of the England squad.
Rob Elliot’s injury saw him miss out with Ireland, while Paul Dummett’s form at the end of the campaign failed to earn him a spot in the Wales squad.
The players have begun arriving back on Tyneside today for fitness and conditioning tests, with training set to get under way on Friday.
They will do a week of intensive work at Benton before travelling to Ireland on July 9, for a week-long training camp, finishing with their first friendly of the summer against Bohemians on July 16.