Rafael Benitez has told the Chronicle that he does not know whether midfielder Cheick Tiote has a future at Newcastle United.
Tiote made his first appearance for Newcastle this season, during their 1-1 draw with Aston Villa yesterday.
Tiote’s introduction was not enough to enable Newcastle to collect the three points against Villa.
The Claret and Blues scored late on through Aaron Tshibola, to rescue a point in the contest.
Newcastle have now slipped down to fifth in the Championship table, while Villa are stuck in 17th place.
United lost their shape when Tiote came on and they were put under the cosh late in the game.
The Ivorian had seemingly fallen completely out of contention at St. James’ Park, but his appearance yesterday suggests that Benitez may have been impressed by the Ivorian.
And when asked whether Tiote had manage to convince him that he still has a future on Tyneside, Benitez responded: “To be fair, I still don’t know.
“We knew we had a problem in the middle because Jack [Colback] had a little problem in the last training session and we didn’t want to take a risk.
“So we decided to bring in Cheick, he is training really well.
“You could think maybe he won’t have the match fitness. And we knew if we did have to use him it could be no longer than 15 minutes. He did well.
“The transfer window is still open in the UAE. If somebody comes in with an offer we will analyse it.
“If not, I am happy because he is a competitive player.”