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
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