Rafa Benitez has been left to sweat over the fitness of Paul Dummett this week after the defender picked up an injury on international duty.

The left-back made his first start for Wales on Friday in a match against Denmark in the UEFA Nations League.

But the game was cut short for Dummett in the 38th minute after he went down injured.

He was then substituted promptly for Chris Gunter, who arguably cost Wales a goal just four minutes later with his poor positioning.

(Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

The injury was a huge blow for Wales and Dummett, as he’d looked typically steady in the first-half and was even unlucky not to bag himself an assist.

The defender made a great interception before teeing up Gareth Bale, but the winger’s resultant strike was saved.

Wales manager Ryan Giggs has now confirmed Gunter will start on Tuesday versus Albania, which isn’t good news for Newcastle fans.

If Dummett’s injury is serious, it will mean Benitez will once again have a selection problem on his hands.

The Paul Dummett Problem

Injuries to Paul Dummett are proving to be nightmare scenarios for Newcastle this season.

The Welshman is still one of the only natural left-backs in the squad, and Benitez has struggled to find makeshift ones in his absence.

Dummett missed two games previously this season, against Leicester and Manchester United, after suffering from hamstring issues.

The manager started Kenedy in the position against Leicester, but it meant Newcastle were much weaker going forward.

(Photo by Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images)

The Brazilian also struggled with his distribution and was not entirely convincing at the back as Newcastle lost 2-0.

In the next game against Man United, Benitez tried right-back Javier Manquillo in the role.

The ex-Sunderland man is not popular with Newcastle fans, and didn’t win anyone over in a 3-2 loss to The Red Devils.

Manquillo failed to close down the cross that supplied Alexis Sanchez’s 90th minute winner, a goal which saw the Toon officially throw away a 2-0 lead.

Benitez’s options

If Dummett remains injured for the upcoming Burnley game, Benitez is likely to replace him with Manquillo.

This won’t please supporters, as many have long given up on the Spaniard, however there are other options.

Ciaran Clark has previously played left-back once for the Magpies against Bristol City in the Championship.

But again it’s not his natural position. And so Benitez may be better off utilising his many in-form centre backs in a three at the back formation.

In terms of left-backs there is only one other player the Toon can really turn too.

But Achraf Lazaar cannot seem to get anywhere near the first team.

(Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images)

Benitez had previously frozen the player out of the first team and attempted to sell him in the summer.

But  a move to Genoa fell through on deadline day, and the defender has since been featuring for Newcastle reserves.

However Lazaar and a number of U23 players have been training with the first-team during the international break.

If the Moroccan can impress in these current training sessions, he may be another surprise option for Benitez.

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