Islam Slimani sits out friendly as Rafa Benitez sweats on Newcastle's international players

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez breathed a sigh of relief at Newcastle United – after Islam Slimani was not “risked” for Algeria.

Slimani linked up with his international team-mates despite not being fit enough to play in Sunday’s friendly against Royal Antwerp in Spain.

The on-loan striker, sidelined with a thigh injury since joining from Leicester City in January, did not play in a friendly against Tanzania today.

Slimani, however, could be involed in Tuesday’s game against Iran in Austria.

Speaking last week, United manager Benitez said: “If he can play with the national team a little bit, that is a risk, because he’s not playing for us.”

Goalkeeper Martin Dubravka, on loan from Sparta Prague, was in goal for Slovakia in their 2-1 win over United Arab Emirates in Thailand.

Winger Matt Ritchie (Scotland) and defender Ciaran Clark (Republic of Ireland) could play for their countries tomorrow night.