By Russell Edge

4th Mar, 2018 | 9:08pm

'The right players' - Benitez details strict Newcastle demands after surprise revelation

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez has revealed that he would only consider a surprise mid-season friendly if he could find a team of the right quality to go up against.

The Magpies could see themselves taking part in an exhibition match as a result of their scheduled three week gap between fixtures, which is due to their Premier League game against Tottenham being postponed for Spurs’ FA Cup clash with Swansea, while an international break takes out another weekend of action for Benitez and his side.

As a result, it was surprisingly revealed that the club could take on an as-yet undecided opponent for a friendly fixture during the three weeks, but Benitez has detailed his strict demands if a kick about is to be arranged.

He told the Chronicle: “We were just analysing the situation but we still haven’t made any decisions. So we were talking about that because I think it would be good to play.

“But it is not easy to find the right players to play against or the right teams. We want to play a friendly against a team that can at least give you the possibility to keep your match fitness at the level it needs to be.”

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While there would be many clubs who might be up for taking on Newcastle during their enforced break, Benitez is right to be targeting a side of the right calibre. This is the opportunity for the Magpies to experiment with their tactics, get some more insight into who works where and what should be avoided at all costs going into the final stretch of the season. While fans might like a home friendly, going abroad might be a well deserved trip for the players after the recent cold snap, which has seen them forced indoors onto artificial surfaces for training. They will just have to make sure they do not follow in the footsteps of West Brom after their debacle on a warm weather training trip.

In other Newcastle United news, the club must look to seal a deal for a red hot striker.

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