Injury-prone Newcastle ace holds talks with Benitez, frustrated with game time
By Will Butcher
Massadio Haidara has held talks with manager Rafa Benitez as he remains frustrated at his lack of Newcastle game time.
The 24-year-old defender has been sidelined for almost 18 months with a long-term knee injury, finally making his return in the FA Cup against Birmingham in January.
However, the left-back’s recovery has been halted as he’s struggling for first-team game time, making just one more FA Cup appearance since his return against Birmingham.
Speaking to the Shields Gazette, the former Nancy ace revealed his frustration at being consistently overlooked by Benitez but understood that the Toon have a big squad.
“He talks to me. He talks to everyone,” Haidara said. “He has told me that he cannot play everyone and that some players must stay away from the first-team.
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“But there are many games left until May and who knows if I will get my chance. Either way I will be ready if I am needed.
“There are many players here with the same frustrations because we are not playing.”
Newcastle have two left-backs considered above Haidara in the Toon pecking order, with Paul Dummett currently keeping out Morocco international Achraf Lazaar from the staring eleven.
It has seen Haidara become limited to playing in Peter Beardsley’s reserve side, as he looks to prove to manager Benitez that he has what it takes to improve the Toon from left-back.
Newcastle’s number 19 is likely to miss out again on Saturday, as Benitez’s side welcome Championship strugglers Wigan to St. James’ Park.
Three points against the Lancashire outfit could see the Magpies go four points clear at the top of the Championship, if Brighton lose to Blackburn at the Amex Stadium.