Rafael Benitez praises Newcastle United striker Aleksandar Mitrovic

Newcastle United Manager Rafael Benitez

Aleksandar Mitrovic was selected to start for Newcastle United ahead of Dwight Gayle last night.

Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez

Rafael Benitez has told the Chronicle that he was pleased with Newcastle United striker Aleksandar Mitrovic’s performance against Norwich City last night.

Mitrovic was selected to start for Newcastle, despite the return of Dwight Gayle from injury.

The Serbian target man failed to get on the scoresheet, but did help Newcastle pick up a 2-2 draw at Carrow Road.

And Benitez said of the striker: “I am happy with the way he was playing. His contributions were quite good, Ayoze was the same.”

Despite Benitez’s praise, Mitrovic will surely be dropped for Newcastle’s next match, which comes against Aston Villa at home.

The 22-year-old has had his chance to impress in Newcastle’s starting line-up with Gayle sidelined, but he has failed to really seize his opportunity.

While the former Anderlecht man did score against Wolverhampton Wanderers, that is his only goal in 2017 - and Gayle will surely now take his place.

Gayle looked fairly bright after entering the field as a substitute last night, and the striker is only set to get sharper by the day, as he returns to full fitness.

Gayle has netted 20 goals in 25 matches so far this season, and Benitez will surely want to put his top scorer back into the Magpies’ starting line-up sooner rather than later, meaning there will be no place for Mitrovic.

Newcastle United's Aleksandar Mitrovic looks dejected

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