Paul Dummett is the latest player to hand Rafa Benitez a fitness boost.
The defender hasn’t been seen since the defeat to Manchester United, where he played at centre-back.
Since then, Florian Lejeune has took the 27-year-old’s place. And unfortunately for Dummett, the Frenchman has been sensational since returning.
Matt Ritchie has been playing as left wing-back, and appears to be getting better each passing game. Is Dummett primed for a place on the bench, or is there a way he can get back into the starting XI?
Will Dummett force a tactical tweak?
In the current system, he doesn’t make our best XI.
Lejeune has transformed the defence, while Ritchie’s attacking capabilities make him a great candidate for the wing-back role. There is no way that Dummett could get up and down the flank like Ritchie does, it’s just not in his arsenal.
But the left-back’s return from injury could allow Benitez to revert to four in defence.
The Magpies started the season with this, and had a lot of joy with a back four during the previous campaign. Four in defence would allow Ritchie to play further up the pitch, and could make Newcastle a more creative force.
It would also allow Miguel Almiron to play in his favoured position behind the striker. If the system stays the same, our new record arrival will have a lot of defensive work to do, which is not what he was signed to do.
Almiron has been brought in to be the creative force Benitez needs, but that may be hard in the current formation.
It all depends on how confident Benitez is. Five at the back has made us incredibly solid. Would we lose some of our solidity if we switched systems?
Right now, Benitez should stick with five at the back. But the return of Dummett gives him the option to change things up when the time comes.