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Newcastle’s injury problems have blessed them with an exciting new duo

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Getty Images

Newcastle United

Newcastle’s injury problems have blessed them with an exciting new duo

Newcastle United continued their recent renaissance with a 2-0 victory over Burnley (BBC Sport).

The Magpies managed to stop the in-form Clarets in their tracks to claim three vital points in their quest to remain in the Premier League come the end of the season.

Interestingly, Rafa Benitez opted to start both Isaac Hayden and Sean Longstaff in central midfield together once again.

(Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

That was despite having Mo Diame and Ki Sung-yueng both back available to him.

Diame and Ki had struck up a good partnership towards the end of 2018, but injuries saw them have to give up their starting berths and miss a handful of games.

With Jonjo Shelvey having also been out injured, Benitez has had to turn to Isaac Hayden and youngster Sean Longstaff to cover.


A surprise success

Many had hoped Hayden and Longstaff would be able to do a good enough job just to see Newcastle through the Christmas and New Year period.

But actually, Benitez appears to have stumbled across a winning formula with the pair, who have performed exceptionally well in the absence of the established first-teamers.

Hayden, who has stated his desire to leave the club (Daily Mail), has been a man reborn and appears to be getting the best out of rookie Longstaff, who scored his first senior goal against Burnley.

(Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images)

The disciplined pair have looked top quality in the engine room, and it will be very hard for Benitez to drop either player in favour of Shelvey, Ki or Diame.

It is surely not how the manager would have imagined setting up his team, but by removing Hayden or Longstaff now he threatens to ruin a blossoming unit in midfield.

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