By Laura O'Leary

13th Dec, 2017 | 2:37pm

Benitez delivers stinging riposte to critics of Newcastle star set for return

Rafa Benitez has slammed Newcastle United fans who were criticising Paul Dummett last season only to say they miss him this season.

In an interview with The Shields Gazette,the Magpies boss questioned those who doubted Dummett’s importance to the team only to admit they now need him this season.

“We’re missing Dummett, some people were criticising Dummett last year, but now the same people are saying we need him,” said Benitez.

“We have lost the only left-back we have.”

Dummett has only played seven minutes of Premier League action after being injured in the season opener against Tottenham.

Benitez originally expected the ace to miss two weeks of action due to suffering a hamstring injury.

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The defender made his return in the Under-23s game against West Bromwich Albion on Friday, and managed to play an hour.

However, Newcastle United’s medical team want to ease him back into football due to the length of time his hamstring injury has kept him out.

Last season, Dummett helped the Magpies win the Championship and instantly bounce back into the Premier League, featuring 45 times across the season.

The Magpies will have to manage without Dummet for the game against Everton on Wednesday night, as well as Saturday’s game against Arsenal which he is expected to miss.

In other Newcastle United news, fans have gone into meltdown over the latest takeover update.

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