Boss wants Isaac to make Hay against Arsenal
RAFA Benitez hopes Jamaal Lascelles can cap an already memorable week with three points against Arsenal.
The Newcastle United captain became a father on Tuesday and posted a picture on Instagram with his baby Jamari Rai.
Benitez hopes the feelgood factor surrounding his centre-back can continue with victory against the Gunners.
The United chief told the Chronicle: “He has had a busy week at the beginning with the baby.
“The last two days he has been fine. He has trained normally and I think he will be OK.”
When asked if this could see Lascelles reach new levels of maturity, Benitez added: “For every young player they have to realise what responsibility is about.
“He is now taking care of somebody whom he has to protect over everything.
“It gives him more responsibility and sometimes this can be quite positive for the development of a player.”
Lascelles is in the frame to start against Arsenal but it remains to be seen if he is joined by Jonjo Shelvey and Matt Ritchie. Kenedy is also nursing a groin injury.
Benitez said: “Kenedy, Shelvey and Ritchie all trained but each one had little things.
“They were fine on Friday and they are in the squad.” RAFA Benitez will ask Isaac Hayden for a little bit extra this afternoon IF he is given the nod to face his former club.
The former Arsenal midfielder has not been in action since he was red-carded at Cardiff City following a tricky summer for the England under-21 international.
Hayden wanted to leave Tyneside and move closer to his family base in Wales but the move was blocked by Benitez due to the lack of incoming transfer activity. With Hayden (left) now back from suspension, Benitez knows his Arsenal connections could be important this weekend. When asked if Hayden will be fired up for this particular game, Benitez told the Chronicle: “We were talking about that during the week. It does not change too much but hopefully if he can play he will give an extra 10% and that could be the difference.”
Benitez feels it is healthy to have Hayden and Sean Longstaff pushing Jonjo Shelvey and Mo Diame, adding: “It is good for him (Hayden) to be back because the competition for places increases.”