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Newcastle United midfielder Rodrigo Vilca has returned to Peru on loan.

The 22-year-old has signed for Peruvian Liga 1 giants Universitario de Deportes after The Magpies sanctioned a loan move.

Vilca – who spent the first half of the 2021-22 campaign on loan at League One side Doncaster Rovers – was spotted outside of the Jorge Chavez International Airport north of Peru’s capital Lima on Thursday. He was greeted by a crowd of supporters and was pictured holding a Universitario shirt.

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Earlier this month, an agreement was reached between the clubs for a loan move, but no official announcement has been made just yet as the formalities of the move await ratification.

A general view of the sun setting behind the West stand of St James' Park, during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Leicester City at St. James Park on January 03, 2021 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

The Liga 1 campaign only got under way last month and Vilca is set to be loaned out for the remainder of the season.

The Peruvian arrived at Newcastle for an undisclosed fee from Deportivo Municipal in October 2020. He signed a four year deal until the summer of 2024 and joined up with The Magpies’ under-23s side.

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He is yet to make a first team matchday squad for Newcastle over the past season-and-a-half but has taken part in first team training sessions.

Rodrigo Vilca of Newcastle United U21's on the ball with Jak Hickman of Bolton Wanderers during the EFL Trophy match between Bolton Wanderers and Newcastle United U21 at University of Bolton Stadium on November 17, 2020 in Bolton, England. (Photo by Charlotte Tattersall/Getty Images)

He made 13 appearances for Doncaster in all competitions earlier this season, scoring twice.

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Vilca’s progress in South America will be monitored by Newcastle’s loan player coordinator Shola Ameobi from afar. And with two years remaining on Vilca’s current deal at United, he could still be handed another opportunity to impress once he returns to Tyneside next season.

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