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Newcastle join race for highly rated England Under-19 international - report

By Harvey Byrne

Walsall left-back Rico Henry is now attracting the attention of Championship new-boys Newcastle, according to a report.

North east publication The Shields Gazette claim that the Magpies have joined the battle for the 19-year-old as the highly rated youngster’s list of suitors continues to grow.

Premier League big guns Liverpool and Arsenal are claimed to have scouted the youngster alongside Premier League champions Leicester.

However, it is believed that West Ham are leading the chase for Henry with Leeds also interested in the defender, after the Hammers loaned 19-year-old midfielder George Dobson to the Saddlers.

The youngster was nominated for the Football League Young Player of the Year last season, losing out to eventual winner Lewis Cook.

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He made his name with some dazzling displays from left-back for Walsall during his 44 appearances for the League One side.

If the Magpies’ interest is serious, Benitez will want to make a swift transfer as he prepares for the forthcoming Championship season with Newcastle travelling to Fulham on August 5.

The Toon conceded 65 goals last term as they were relegated into the second tier of English football for the second time in seven years.

Benitez has already completed the signings of defensive duo Matz Sels and Jesus Gamez this summer, as well as Isaac Hayden, Matt Ritchie and Dwight Gayle further up the pitch.

In other Newcastle transfer news, Georginio Wijnaldum appeared to wave goodbye to Toon fans following a friendly on Wednesday evening.