Algeria national team coach Rabah Madjer has told Newcastle United they won’t risk Islam Slimani in the international break unless they are convinced he is fully fit.
But the fact he is with the national team beggars belief!
Slimani is not close to match fitness but will be assessed by Algeria FA medics this week.
Slimani, who has yet to figure for Newcastle since arriving on loan from Leicester City in January, trained with the fitness coaches on the Magpies ’ recent trip to Spain.
He cut a frustrated figure in the stands during Newcastle’s 1-1 draw with Royal Antwerp in a friendly at the Pinitar Arena before then linking up with the Algeria squad for friendlies against Tanzania and Iran.
But 59-year-old Algeria coach Madjer said: “Islam trains normally, but if there is a risk, if he can not play, we will preserve it for his interest and the interest of his club.”
Slimani remains touch and go for Newcastle’s Premier League game with Huddersfield Town and it is expected he is fighting for a place on the bench at the very best.
Rafa Benitez said : “He was not training with the team so he will not be part of the team tomorrow.
“Islam is progressing with our medical staff and we are talking with the medical staff of his national team so it makes sense.
“Hopefully he will progress in the days ahead.”