Rafael Benitez shares what he told Moussa Sissoko about his position

St James Park

The French winger filled in at left-back against Sunderland last time out.

Quoted by the Sunderland Echo, Newcastle United boss Rafael Benitez has claimed that Moussa Sissoko is more than willing to plug gaps at left-back amid a positional crisis at the worst possible time.

Already without their first and second-choice goalkeeper, the Magpies travel to Norwich City today in a huge relegation six-pointer which will see goalkeeper Karl Darlow make his second Premier League appearance.

But there are also problems in defence, with left-backs Paul Dummett and Massadio Haidara both injured, while Jack Colback, who deputised for them at Sunderland last time out, is suspended for two games.

Benitez withdrew Colback for Sissoko against the Black Cats, with the Frenchman operating in an unfamiliar left-back role for the guts of half-an-hour of the 1-1 draw. Asked if he could play there again against the Canaries, Benitez was quoted as telling the Sunderland Echo: “Yes. He did really well (against Sunderland).

“I had a conversation with him (on Thursday) and said ‘listen, you are so important, even if you have to play as a striker or a keeper or maybe as a left full back’.

“So we were practicing with him in this position. If you ask him what do you prefer, he would say he wants to play as a No 10 or a winger or whatever. But he knows he is a key player for us, and if he has to do it, he will do it.”


It is an unnecessary but unavoidable headache for the Spanish boss, who saw the impressive goalkeeper Rob Elliot ruled out for several months with a knee problem earlier this week.


Given that there is an unknown quantity between the sticks and at left-back, Norwich, who sit 17th in the table, three points clear of 19th-placed United, might well fancy their chances.

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