Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez has revealed that midfielder Mikel Merino will have to see a specialist to determine the extent of a back injury that kept him out of the club’s 1-0 defeat to Burnley on Monday night.
The Spaniard was a surprise exclusion from the squad that travelled to Turf Moor and is now a doubt for the Magpies’ home clash with Bournemouth at the weekend.
Benitez confessed that he did not know whether Merino would be fit in time to face the Cherries at St James’ Park.
“We have to wait to see,” the 57-year-old is quoted as saying in the Shields Gazette.
“He’ll see a specialist and we’ll see how he feels.
“We’ll see what the specialist says after a couple of days to see we have the right decision.”
Merino has quickly become a firm favourite amongst the Newcastle faithful since signing from Borussia Dortmund on an initial loan deal in the summer.
However, he has already agreed to move permanently to the north east of England at the end of the current campaign.
Composed on the ball and able to dictate his side’s tempo from midfield, Merino has made a big impression in the Premier League and netted his first goal for his new club in the recent 1-0 triumph over struggling Crystal Palace.
The 21-year-old was a regular for Osasuna in his native country before making the move to Dortmund last summer, but he failed to break into the team, making just nine competitive appearances for the German outfit.
It seems he has found a good fit with Newcastle and fans will be hoping that he stays on Tyneside for many years to come.
The clash with Bournemouth is the Magpies’ last fixture before the international break; they will return to action at Old Trafford against Manchester United on November 18.