The two players who are leading the way in the Premier League at Newcastle

Newcastle United's Rob Elliot.
Newcastle United's Rob Elliot.

Rob Elliot and Ciaran Clark are proving indispensible to Rafa Benitez – having played every minute of every Premier League game.

Elliot and Clark have both played 540 minutes of top-flight football for 10th-placed Newcastle United this season.

The pair, preparing for Sunday’s home game against Liverpool, won’t get a breather during the internaitonal break, having been called up by the Republic of Ireland for their World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Wales.

Matt Ritchie (538) and Jamaal Lascelles (533) are close behind Elliot and Clark.

At the bottom of the minutes played table is Paul Dummett, who suffered an injury just seven minutes into the new campaign. Florian Lejeune, signed from Eibar in the summer, was also forced off against Tottenham Hotspur. Thanks to Harry Kane, his debut lasted just 34 minutes.

Aleksandar Mitrovic – who is available for Sunday’s home game against Liverpool after serving a three-match suspension – has played 18 minutes of league football so far this season.

We’re expecting our fans to support us, and I think it will be a great, great match.

Mikel Merino

Meanwhile, Mikel Merino, another summer signing, didn’t start the season in Benitez’s team, but he racked up minutes on the pitch during Jonjo Shelvey’s three-game ban for a stamp on Tottenham’s Dele Alli.

Mikel has played 464 minutes. Shelvey has been restricted to just 133 minutes on the pitch.

Benitez must decide whether to recall Shelvey for the Liverpool game, which Merino is relishing.

“It’s important for me to play at home, and if I can play a team like Liverpool, it’s even better, because it’s a great team,” said the 21-year-old.

“We’re expecting our fans to support us, and I think it will be a great, great match.”

PREMIER LEAGUE MINUTES PLAYED

Rob Elliot 540

Ciaran Clark 540

Matt Richie 538

Jamaal Lascelles 533

Ayoze Perez 526

Christian Atsu 481

Mikel Merino 464

Isaac Hayden 455

Chancel Mbemba 409

Javier Manquillo 360

Joselu 338

DeAndre Yedlin 180

Dwight Gayle 170

Jonjo Shelvey 133

Jesus Gamez 97

Jacob Murphy 71

Mohamed Diame 46

Florian Lejeune 34

Aleksandar Mitrovic 18

Paul Dummett 7