Rafa Benitez makes decision on Salomon Rondon and reveals big change at Newcastle

Rafa Benitez.
Rafa Benitez.

Rafa Benitez has named an unchagned starting XI for this afternoon's game at the St Mary's Stadium.

Newcastle United, bottom of the Premier League, take on Southampton looking for their first win of the season.

And striker Salomon Rondon – who has missed the club's last three games with a thigh problem – is on the bench.

Benitez has again fielded Yoshinori Muto up front, while midfielder Ki Sung-yueng is among the substitutes.

Looking ahead to the game, United's manager said: "Southampton is a team with a lot of similarities as us when you see the goals they score and concede and the problems they have winning games at home.

"It will be a good battle, and hopefully we can win.”

Newcastle were beaten 3-1 by Southampton a month after Benitez took charge in March 2016.

Jamaal Lascelles, since appointed United captain, said that team lacked "heart and desire" at the St Mary's Stadium.

“There are two big differences," said Benitez. "One is the players that we had, obviously.

"A lot were players with a lot of experience, but their attitude and commitment and passion of these players, I'm not saying they did not have it, but some maybe were in their heads out of the team or the club.

"But this group now, they know that they have to keep working hard. They did so last year.

"The message from our fans always is 'we want a group who care', and this group definitely cares. 100%.”

NEWCASTLE UNITED: Dubravka; Yedlin, Lascelles, Fernandez, Dummett; Shelvey, Diame; Ritchie, Perez, Kenedy; Muto. Subs: Darlow, Manquillo, Schar, Ki, Atsu, Joselu, Rondon.

SOUTHAMPTON: McCarthy; Cedric, Stephens, Hoedt, Bertrand; Redmond, Romeu, Lemina, Elyounoussi; Ings, Austin.