Rafael Benitez hints that Daryl Janmaat's Newcastle United return is close

Daryl Janmaat was expected to miss the rest of Newcastle United's season.

Rafael Benitez has told the Shields Gazette that Daryl Janmaat could make an unexpected return for Newcastle United before the end of the season.

Janmaat was expected to miss the rest of the campaign with injury, after he damaged his hand following a defeat to Southampton.

Janmaat reportedly punched a dressing room wall in frustration after Newcastle lost 3-1 to the Saints, and he broke a bone in doing so.

Janmaat has been out of action ever since, and it was initially feared that he was set to spend the rest of the campaign on the sidelines.

However, the Dutch full-back is now close to the return, with Benitez suggesting that all he needs is a little more confidence.

"Janmaat is close. He needs protection. He needs to be better and a bit more confidence," the Spanish boss said. 

Vurnon Anita is the man who has been chosen to cover at right-back in Janmaat’s absence, and he has impressed.

The Dutchman has looked comfortable in the full-back position, and he has helped Newcastle climb out of the relegation zone.

The Magpies have taken eight points from their last four fixtures to move into 17th place in the Premier League table.

Newcastle’s remaining games come against Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur.

Register for NEWCASTLE UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch