Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez has said that he would like to have included midfielder Cheick Tiote in the squad for the match against Preston North End on Tuesday but feels it would not have been fair on other players who also deserved to be in the chance of playing in the EFL Cup tie.
Benitez believes that the Ivorian international is in the right frame of mind to play, and could still feature in first team action before January if required. He is quoted by the Shields Gazette as saying:
“His mentality is fine. He’s trained well and I’m pleased with him. I was considering putting him in the squad for Preston in the cup, but that would mean leaving someone else out and that would not be fair.”
Rafa also has Isaac Hayden and Jack Colback available to play in the holding midfield role, while utility player Vurnon Anita would also be another option if needed, so Tiote may find it hard to get game time before a January move.
The dilemma for Benitez is that if he doesn’t play, the midfielder can’t put himself in the shop window to impress clubs and may have to wait until the end of the season when his contract expires to find a new team.