Newcastle United Boss Rafael Benítez Remains Coy Over Suggestion to Play New Midfield Partnership

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Newcastle United boss has kept his cards close to his chest over suggestions that he could attempt to forge a new central midfield partnership between Jonjo Shelvey and summer loan signing Mikel Merino. 

The two players appeared to gel well when combined late on against Brighton on Sunday, but were unable to save their side from losing the game 1-0.

Speaking after the loss, via the Shields Gazette, Benítez was questioned as to whether the pair would build upon their bright showing in the match, and the Spanish manager responded with a fairly non-comittal answer:

"They did well when they were playing together, but it depends on the game. "It depends on the moment during the games.


"(Yesterday) was a time when we needed to change something, and it was good for us. "But it is a pity that with so much (possession) at the end, we have to create more chances and better chances and control things better."

21-year-old Merino has arguably been the Magpies' best player so far this season, offering the side some much needed solidity in midfield, expertly guarding the defensive line with robust player. The Borussia Dortmund loanee has nine caps for the Spanish Under-21 side, and make 67 league appearances for Spanish side Osasuna as a teenager.

Newcastle have made a solid start to their return to the Premier League, having bounced back up from the Championship at the first time of asking after being relegated in the 2015/16 season. 

Before their narrow loss to Brighton, the Toon had been on a three match winning league run - seeing off Stoke City, Swansea City and West Ham United in the process.