Rafa Benitez addresses criticism of Paul Dummett ahead of defender's Newcastle comeback

Rafa Benitez believes Paul Dummett's critics now have a better understanding of his value to Newcastle United.

The defender, sidelined since the opening weekend of the Premier League season, is close to a comeback.

Dummett played 60 minutes of an Under-23 games last week.

However, tomorrow night's home game against Everton has come too soon for Dummett.

United manager Benitez said: "We're missing Dummett.

"Some people were criticising Dummett last year, but now the same people are saying we need him

Paul Dummett

Paul Dummett

"We have lost the only left-back we have. We have had three or four players injured at the same time. Hopefull.y if everyone is available we can be as solid as we were at the beginning of the season.

“He's getting better, but he's still a little bit short. He played 60 minutes with the Under-23s the other day, but he's probably still a little short."

Captain Jamaal Lascelles, an unused subsitute for the weekend's home defeat to Leicester City, could return to the starting XI.

"He was on the bench and nearly there in terms of his fitness," said Benitez.

"Now he's a little bit better so we will decide. When something is wrong, it's always good to have players with personality and character.

"I haven’t decided on the team yet."

Click the video above to watch NUFC writer Miles Starforth talk about Rafa Benitez's latest press conference