Newcastle gave yet another abject FA Cup performance on Saturday, and their 1-1 draw with Blackburn Rovers means the tie will go to a replay in just 10 days.
Benitez gave opportunities to several fringe players in the match, but a few disinterested displays suggested he got his choices all wrong.
Joselu and Jacob Murphy were given rare starts up front and on the wing, but both looked devoid of confidence.
Murphy rarely looked to create an opportunity for his team mates and Joselu once again snatched at his few chances.
Newcastle fans knew a weakened side would be played given their current league situation, but they were still disappointed.
Even though it wasn’t the first team, fans expect their side to at least be able to fashion a chance on goal.
Benitez also offered chances for u23’s stars Freddie Woodman, Jamie Sterry and Sean Longstaff, all of whom gave quiet showings.
However the manager neglected to call up Elias Sorensen and Callum Roberts.
They’ve been the top performers for the u23’s this season, yet are still seen as not good enough for the first team.
But given the lack of quality up top on Saturday, the replay is the perfect time for Benitez to call up the duo.
Benitez can appease fans with Sorensen and Roberts call up
Newcastle did not look like a team who wanted to progress in the FA Cup on Saturday.
Blackburn offered little going forward, but Newcastle somehow managed to offer even less and lacked quality in the final third.
The replay at Ewood Park will now take place between massive league games against Chelsea and Cardiff.
Benitez now defintely needs to play a weakened team, but given Saturday’s performance, would that team get a result?
Joselu has proven he is not capable of winning games for Newcastle, while wingers Kenedy and Murphy also uninspired.
Sorensen and Roberts meanwhile are doing the opposite for the reserves.
In the EFL Trophy, the pair have scored seven of Newcastle u21’s nine goals so far.
The competition has seen the duo prove themselves against sides from League One and Two, and there’s no reason why they couldn’t do the same against a Championship side.
Fans have been calling for weeks for the two to be included in the Newcastle first team.
To thrust them into the Premier League would be ridiculous. But there would be no backlash for playing them in a cup tie.
Even if the pair massively disappointed, surely they would provide more hunger and desire than Saturday’s performance?
EFL Trophy Last of 16 is a chance to win Cup spot
One reason for not including the duo was due to them having a big game of their own on Tuesday.
Newcastle U21’s will play Sunderland’s first team in the EFL Trophy for a spot in the quarter finals.
The Toon reserves aren’t expected to beat The Black Cats, in what for most will be the biggest game of their careers so far.
For Sorensen and Roberts, it’s a big chance to win a spot in the FA Cup replay.
If they can impress against a side pushing for the Championship, Benitez will know they are ready to progress.
Arsenal showed just what an opportunity the FA Cup can be for youngsters in a 3-0 win against Blackpool on Saturday.
19 year old Joseph Willcock scored two goals, and was similarly playing in the EFL Trophy for Arsenal u21’s just last month.
Sorensen and Roberts may have the same effect in a Newcastle first team game, but they need to be given the chance first.