By Amir Mir
Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez has revealed Jonjo Shelvey and Aleksandar Mitrovic will have “really important” roles to play in the forthcoming Championship season.
Benitez faces the tough task of gaining instant promotion with the Tyneside club as 46 gruelling Championship games stand in his way of success.
The Spaniard took charge of the club in March after the sacking of the much-criticised Steve McClaren.
But, the former Real Madrid boss explained the roles his striker and central midfielder will play this season.
Mitrovic is suspended for the opening four matches of the Championship campaign due to his final-day sending-off against Tottenham.
Asked if Mitrovic and Shelvey would feature much this season, Benitez told the Chronicle: “For sure.
“Mitrovic won’t play a role in the next four games. But after that it’s really important for us that they are available.”
“My idea is to give all of them [the players] the same chance to compete. Then when we have two games a week we will make sure we can rotate and change and they will have to be ready.
“It is difficult to play with 11 players for too many games, so I want to play with a squad because if you play 46 games, with the cups too, you have to be ready to have a big squad.”
Serbian international Mitrovic signed from Belgian side Anderlecht last summer for a fee of £13 million, but the 21-year-old hot-head failed to live up to expectations at St James Park with nine goals in his debut season.
Shelvey made a shock £12 million January move from Swansea, but was unable to prevent the north east club from failing into the Championship for the second time in seven years.
Benitez will now plan for the club’s opening Championship fixture away at Fulham this Friday evening.
In other Newcastle team news, Sky Sports pundit Ian Holloway has revealed which Newcastle player will carry them this season.