Rafael Benitez addresses captaincy question, explains why he handed armband to Moussa Sissoko

Rafa Benitez 3

The Newcastle United manager admits he is unsure whether the midfielder will continue as skipper ahead of the benched Jonjo Shelvey.

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez has admitted to reporters that he is unsure whether Moussa Sissoko will continue as captain after he was handed the armband for the 3-0 win over Swansea City on Saturday, as quoted by the Chronicle.

The French midfielder was named skipper by Benitez as previous captain Jonjo Shelvey was dropped for the visit of his former club to St. James' Park.

Sissoko responded with one of his finer performances of the season, including scoring the decisive second goal of the game eight minutes from time to all but secure the victory.

With full-time captain Fabricio Coloccini's injury return date unknown to Benitez, the Spanish boss has to decide whether he sticks by Sissoko after that display or restores Shelvey to both the team and the armband for Tuesday night's meeting with Manchester City.

The former Liverpool and Real Madrid boss admitted to reporters that he does not know what decision he is going to make, but revealed that a major reason for him naming Sissoko as skipper was how well he trains and the fact he helps the coach with the rest of the club's French contingent.

Benitez said, as quoted by the Chronicle: "I don't know if Sissoko will continue as captain. I have to decide. I'm really pleased for Moussa - he's good for the team. 

"I chose Sissoko as captain because of how he behaves in training every day. He works hard, helps me with French players.

"I still don't have the team decided so you can keep guessing for another day."

Newcastle have given themselves a real fighting chance of avoiding the drop by securing their first win under Benitez at the weekend, but they must take advantage of the fact the majority of their remaining matches are at home if they are to make up ground over the next few weeks.

The win left the Magpies just three points adrift of Norwich City and safety, with tomorrow's clash with Manchester City a potentially valuable game-in-hand. 

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