When it comes to Rafael Benitez’s first team side at Newcastle United, there are a few names who seem irreplaceable.
Club captain and centre back Jamaal Lascelles is one, while midfield maestro Jonjo Shelvey and wing wizard Matt Ritchie also join an exclusive list on Tyneside.
However, the Spanish boss might have to change his plans entirely after suffering a potentially massive bombshell.
The Magpies have confirmed via their official Twitter account and official website that Ritchie has withdrawn from the Scottish national side with an injury blow, and that he will have to undergo tests to adjudge just how severe the layoff could be.
The 28-year-old has been a mainstay of the Magpies’ side this season, with 30 appearances across all competitions this season, so seeing him sidelined, especially with a crunch survival clash against Huddersfield up net, will be a big blow.
However, there will be two men who are likely to be rubbing their hands together at the news, and they are set to go head-to-head to try and rescue their Newcastle careers.
Both Christian Atsu and Jacob Murphy have found themselves in and out of the first team this season, but the arrival of Kenedy over the January window has seen their game time severely limited.
The pair have just one start each following the Brazilian’s signing, and with hopes that the 22-year-old will be a permanent signing come the summer window, it leaves those on the fringes fighting for their careers at St James’ Park.
Murphy is the more natural right winger, where Ritchie has been operating, but Benitez has also made use of Atsu on his opposite flank, meaning both are in the running, and there is likely to be one disappointed face on the touchline when Saturday comes around.