Rafa Benitez delivers a message to Salomon Rondon

Salomon Rondon.
Salomon Rondon.

Salomon Rondon must improve his fitness before he’s ready to start for Newcastle United.

The striker made his comeback from injury against Southampton at the St Mary’s Stadium on Saturday.

Rondon – who had been out for a month with a thigh problem – came off the bench, but the 29-year-old wasn’t able to have an impact on the game, which ended goalless.

The result saw the winless club move off the bottom of the Premier League on goal difference.

Rondon took to Twitter after the game.

“Happy to return to the pitch,” tweeted Rondon. “Huge thanks to our away fans for the support!”

Rafa Benitez’s players are now preparing for Saturday’s home game against Watford.

And on-loan Rondon has work to do on the training pitch this week if he’s to return to the starting XI.

“I think it will be good for the competition between the strikers,” said manager Benitez, who has fielded summer signing Yoshinori Muto up front in the absence of Rondon.

“It’s another option and a different kind of option.

“He has to improve his fitness. It’s obvious that he’s not fully fit after five, six weeks without training with the team.

“But he gives us a hope thinking about the future too.”

Rondon’s only goal so far for United came in the Carabao Cup defeat to Nottingham Forest in August.