£12m Newcastle flyer has 90 minutes to save Magpies career with guaranteed start v Chelsea
After a roller coaster season of ups and downs, the curtain will finally close on Newcastle United’s campaign after their home clash against Chelsea on Sunday.
The showdown at St James’ Park might be the final game for both sides but that does not make it a dead rubber, with the Blues still in with a chance of securing a top four spot at the expense of Liverpool, and Newcastle trying to secure a top ten finish, with five teams behind all capable of leapfrogging them.
Both teams will want to go out on a high and as such will be expected to play full strength sides, but in the case of Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez, he will have to do without a handful of his stars.
Christian Atsu and Ciaran Clark are both ruled out through injury, loan striker Islam Slimani is suspended and winger Kenedy has played his final game of his temporary spell on Tyneside, unable to feature against his parent side.
While the Spanish manager has options in most areas of the pitch, with Kenedy and Atsu out it leaves just Jacob Murphy as the only senior winger at his disposal – and he faces 90 minutes to save his Magpies career ahead of the summer in what seems a guaranteed start.
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The £12million signing from Norwich has failed to impress since joining last summer, with just 12 league starts and a single goal and assist to his name.
Newcastle cannot afford to be carrying deadwood among their side and while Murphy is young at 23, he is certainly among those languishing near the bottom of the senior squad list.
A loan, or even permanent exit, could be on the cards this summer, and his appearance against Chelsea is his last chance to rescue himself.
In other Newcastle United news, the fans may find their joy short lived after Benitez gave a dream update over one man.