Rafa Benitez explains his Mohamed Diame dilemma at Newcastle

Rafa Benitez believes Mohamed Diame's versaility is proving to be a strength for Newcastle United.

Mohamed Diame
Mohamed Diame

Diame scored his second goal of the season in Sunday’s 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace.

And the midfielder is in line to face Manchester United at St James’s Park on Sunday.

Diame was predominantly used as a No 10 in the Championship last season.

However, United manager Rafa Benitez has used Diame as a conventional midfielder and in a holding role in the Premier League this season.

Advertisement

Hide Ad

“He’s not a proper No 10 like some people think, a small one that can turn,” said Benitez.

“He has more physicality and he was playing as a midfielder in the Championship.

“He was more a No 10. He did well. In the Premier League, he’s more a midfielder.

“When he was playing in Spain he was playing as a holding midfielder.

Advertisement

Hide Ad

“I knew that. (Against Burnley last week), we needed him there, and he did well because he knows the role.”

Diame, signed from Hull City in the summer of 2016, struggled for form last season.

And the 30-year-old retired from international football with Senegal in March to focus on his club career.

“I’ve been working hard to get back to the player I want to be,” said Diame. “That’s it, just the work. It’s what I want to do and what I have to do.”