Three key changes Rafa Benitez must make to his Newcastle team for Southampton

Jacob Murphy for Kenedy

There have been a few puzzled faces amongst supporters following Murphy’s unenforced and undeserved expulsion from the starting XI just as he beginning to show why Benitez forked out £10 million to sign him from Norwich in the summer. The arrival of Kenedy on loan seemingly pushed the 23-year-old down the pecking order, but he returned to start against Liverpool on Saturday, delivering a subdued performance alongside the rest United’s attack.

Murphy’s last league start came away at Manchester City in late January, a game in which he scored Newcastle’s consolation in a 3-1 defeat – his first competitive goal in black and white. Yet Benitez tempered his progression by benching him for the next two matches and then leaving Murphy out of the squad entirely for three straight games before coming back into the fold at Anfield.

With Kenedy looking slightly jaded after playing in every game since he joined from Chelsea and in need of a break, it is the opportune time for Benitez to shuffle his wingers and show a little faith in Murphy by utilising his pace and directness against a Saints side who have conceded 20 goals away from home this season.