Newcastle United briefing: Rafa Benitez faces media, Freddie Woodman on his future

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez will face the media today ahead of Newcastle United's visit to the John Smith's Stadium.

Benitez's side beat Huddersfield Town 3-1 in March on their way to the Championship title.

Newcastle, however, will face a very different team on Sunday.

READ MORE: Away from the Premier League spotlight, a clutch of unwanted Newcastle players train in the shadows

Huddersfield lead the Premier League after beating Crystal Palace 3-0 last weekend.

Joselu could make his debut in the televised game.



And the striker, signed from Stoke City this week, spoke about his move to United after yesterday's open day at St James's Park.

More than 12,000 fans attended the free event.

Here's your daily briefing:

Point to prove



Joselu spent last season on loan at Deportivo La Coruna.

And the 27-year-old was keen to get back to the Premier League - where he feels he has a "point to prove".

“I feel like I have a point to prove,” said Joselu, who scored a stunning volley at the open training session.

“I want to be important in this club, in this team, and I try to do my best to score, to work hard for this team and win the games.”


Benitez will be without the suspended Jonjo Shelvey.

Shelvey picked up an automatic three-game ban for his dismissal in last Sunday's 2-0 home defeat to Totteham Hotspur.

And summer signing Mikel Merino could deputise at the John Smith's Stadium.

The 21-year-old midfielder has been talking about his first appearance for the club and the decision Benitez has to make for the Huddersfield game.

“What I have to focus on is being myself and trying to do everything I can to help the team,” said Merino.

“At the end, Rafa has to decide who’s playing. “I think all the players are going the right way, pushing the team in the right direction."


United's manager will also be without injured defenders Paul Dummett and Florian Lejeune, who were forced off against Tottenham.

And captain Jamaal Lascelles has been speaking about the club's early-season injury problems.

“It's never nice to get injuries that early on, but we've got a big squad in depth with quality all round, so there's no panic," said the 23-year-old, who led the club to the Championship title last season.

“We'll try to get them back as soon as possible, but we have just got to focus on the team that we have and what the starting line-up is going to be for Huddersfield."

Waiting game

Freddie Woodman is keen to get out on loan this season – but the goalkeeper must first wait.

Woodman, linked with a number of Premier League clubs this summer, has spoken about his short-term future.

“Ultimately, I need to be on the pitch,” said Woodman.

“I need to be getting minutes and making mistakes on the football field – and learning from them – because that’s how you get better.

“I just want to get games, and if that means going on loan, then I want to do that. I want to play matches, continue my development and keep getting better."

Benitez, however, won't allow Woodman to leave until he has signed another goalkeeper.

The 20-year-old added: "I've got options, but it's just whether the club can get me out."

For updates from Rafa Benitez this afternoon, follow Miles Starforth on Twitter here