him, and he points to the battle between the former Fulham man and Lowe as an ideal example of competition for places.
Asked about how strongly Malone is challenging, Wagner said: “He is close, like I think a lot of players are close.
“He has started some games this season as well and I think we have competition in a lot of positions – in left-back as well.
“Scott has had a good week and he’s had a good season so far.
“Chris Lowe has had a good season – he had some more problems maybe in the first Premier League games than he had in the Championship.
“And this is why we are happy we have two competitors for this position.
“Scott Malone is a player we have in our head for the whole season and for Swansea as well.”
So could Malone ge employed further forward, playing in front of Lowe on the left flank?
“Usually, if nothing extra-ordinary happens, we have wingers who are more natural wingers who usually can deliver us more from the winger position other than Chris Lowe or Scott Malone,” answered the boss.
“No-one know what will happen over a season, but this isn’t an option for me at the minute that Scott Malone or Chris Lowe plays as a winger and the other one plays as a full-back.”
Mikel Merino has completed a permanent move to Newcastle from Borussia Dortmund after an impressive start to his career in England.
The 21-year-old midfielder arrived at St James’ Park on loan in July and has done so well on Tyneside that the club has handed him a five-year contract.
Manager Rafael Benitez told NUFC TV: “I’m really pleased we have been able to bring Mikel to the club permanently. He has played very well since he joined.”