Rafa Benitez reacts to Islam Slimani’s full Newcastle United debut

The 29-year-old striker was handed his first start in the Magpies' 1-0 loss at Goodison Park

Rafael Benitez has expressed delight in Islam Slimani’s work rate on his full Newcastle United debut.

Slimani, blighted by injury since his loan move from Leicester City in January, was handed his first start as the Magpies went down 1-0 to Everton in Monday’s English Premier League clash.

After the tie, Benitez, vocal about his dissatisfaction with the ‘final pass’ and discord in the attacking third, took an exception to hail the Algeria international’s work ethic but pointed out that chemistry with his teammates will take a while.

“Islam worked hard,” Benitez said after the game.

“The understanding between him and the rest of the team will take some time. In terms of effort, I was happy with him.”

Slimani saw over an hour of action in the loss to the Toffees, with Dwight Gayle taking his place in the 63rd minute.

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Monday’s encounter was only his third league appearance with 105 minutes under his belt for the Magpies this season. Although, for Leicester, he had featured in 12 Premier League games, with a goal to his credit, before securing a loan move to Tyneside in January.

The former Sporting CP marksman would hope his performance against Sam Allardyce’s men help his cause for a second successive starting berth when West Bromwich Albion visit the St. James Park on Saturday.