Team news: Debut for Dúbravka
Written by Rory Mitchinson
Rafa Benítez has handed goalkeeper Martin Dúbravka his Newcastle debut as the Magpies take on Manchester United at St. James’ Park.
The Slovakian international – who arrived on Tyneside on the final day of the January transfer window – has been preferred between the sticks to Karl Darlow, who drops to the bench.
There is a change in the backline, too, as Florian Lejeune comes in for Ciaran Clark. The Frenchman has not made an appearance for United since December’s 1-0 defeat at Arsenal, but returns to partner captain Jamaal Lascelles in the heart of the back four.
Otherwise, the Magpies are unchanged from the side who drew 1-1 at Crystal Palace seven days ago. Paul Dummett and DeAndre Yedlin will start either side of Lascelles and Lejeune, with Mohamed Diamé and Jonjo Shelvey in central midfield.
There is just a second St. James’ Park appearance for Brazilian Kenedy, who continues on the left wing, with Matt Ritchie on the right.
Up front, Dwight Gayle again leads the line on his own, with Ayoze Pérez deployed in the No. 10 role. Another January acquisition, Islam Slimani, continues to wait for his United bow as he recovers from a thigh injury.