Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez has stated that Ghana midfielder Christian Atsu and Scotland winger Matt Ritchie have fully recovered from injuries that forced them out of action during the international break and would likely play a part in the Magpies’ away game against Southampton on Sunday.
Atsu, 25, was expected to captain the Black Stars against Uganda in the 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifiers following injuries to Asamoah Gyan and Harrison Afful, but was eventually sidelined as well.
“They had little things. They were having treatment, but they’re fine now [and can play against Southampton]. It is possible,” Benitez was quoted as saying by Shield Gazzetta.
Aside Atsu and Ritchie, Benitez also declared midfielder Jonjo Shelvey fit but revealed that he cannot take throws because he could wear a cast to protect a finger he broke last week while trying to separate a fight between Jamaal Lascelles and Mohamed Diame.
“Jonjo is OK, but he cannot take the throw-ins,” said Benitez.
“He will have a cast on his fingers during the game.”
Goal understands that the only unavailable players in Newcastle setup currently are left-back Paul Dummett and Massadio Haidara.