Newcastle United’s season has thrown up all sorts of surprises under Rafa Benitez, who has tinkered with his side throughout the campaign.
The Spaniard’s first choice XI hasn’t exactly been nailed on this term, with the Toon’s large squad called upon as he plots what is hopefully an immediate return to the Premier League.
While there are few stalwarts in the Magpies’ side these days, there’s been a huge element of surprise following the inclusion of defender Massadio Haidara, as well as midfielder Cheick Tiote, in the starting line up.
The Frenchman has had an awful time of things dealing with injuries over the past year or so and has seemingly lost his place to Paul Dummett, though could stake a claim for a return to action in the FA Cup away at Birmingham City.
Such is the nature of his standing within the Toon’s squad, fans on Twitter have reacted with surprise.
Included are some of the best.
Lazaar left wing is good and buzzing to see Haidara back. Howay Mitro and Murphy #NUFC
— K I E R A N . C (@kierancarr_) January 7, 2017
Haidara AND Tiote?! #NUFC
— Rafa's & Army (@NUFC_Fan_) January 7, 2017
— Toon Daily (@ToonDailyNUFC) January 7, 2017
— Peter McGowran (@petemcgowran1) January 7, 2017
— Josh Tulip (@JoshTulip9) January 7, 2017
I didn’t even know we still had Haidara #NUFC
— Daniel Phipps (@phipps1991) January 7, 2017