Rafa Benitez names strong Newcastle starting XI for friendly

Rafa Benitez has named a strong Newcastle United starting XI for this afternoon's game against Royal Antwerp.

The two clubs are playing each other over three 45-minute periods at the Pinatar Arena in Spain (11am kick-off GMT).

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Jonjo Shelvey, Matt Ritchie, Christian Atsu and Mikel Merino all start at the 3,500-capacity stadium.

Karl Darlow (shoulder) and Islam Slimani (thigh) are not involved.

Victor Fernandez and Nathan Harker, called up from the Under-23 squad, are on the bench.

Pinatar Arena

Pinatar Arena

The game was arranged after the club was left with a 21-day break in its Premier League fixture list.

NEWCASTLE UNITED: Dubravka; Manquillo, Mbemba, Lejeune, Haidara; Ritchie, Shelvey, Merino, Murphy; Atsu, Joselu. Subs: Harker, Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Hayden, Diame, Kenedy, Fernandez, Perez, Gayle.

Joselu

Joselu