Rafa Benitez gives injury update at Newcastle

Newcastle United's Christian Atsu and Matt Ritchie.
Newcastle United's Christian Atsu and Matt Ritchie.

Rafa Benitez has given a key Newcastle United duo a clean bill of health.

Wingers Matt Ritchie and Christian Atsu were unable to play for Scotland and Ghana respectively during the international break.

They were having treatment, but they’re fine now.

Rafa Benitez

The pair instead had treatment for minor injuries on Tyneside.

United manager Benitez, however, expects them to be fully fit for tomorrow’s Premier League game against Southampton at the St Mary’s Stadium.

“They have little things,” said Benitez.

“They were having treatment, but they’re fine now.”

Midfielder Jonjo Shelvey will wear a cast to protect the finger he broke last week breaking up a fight between Jamaal Lascelles and Mohamed Diame.

“Jonjo’s OK, but he cannot take the throw-ins,” said Benitez. “He will have a cast.”

The only unavailable players are left-back Paul Dummett and Massadio Haidara, though the latter is close to a comeback.

Meanwhile, Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino is confident Shane Long will be fit to face Newcastle.

The striker had picked up an injury while on international duty with the Republic of Ireland.

Asked if Long would play, Pellegrino said: “I think so. He was training (yesterday) 100%. He’s much better. I think he’ll be ready.”

Pellegrino was a coach alongside Benitez at Liverpool and Inter Milan.

“I will always be grateful to Rafa, because he’s a good example for me both personally and professionally,” said Pellegrino.