Newcastle defender Jamaal Lascelles should have started in Newcastle's 2-3 defeat to Leicester, according to former Chelsea coach Ray Wilkins.
The Magpies suffered their sixth defeat in seven games on Saturday, when striker Ayoze Perez diverted the ball into his own net in the 86th minute. The loss left Benitez's side just two points above the relegation places.
Club captain Lascelles, who was recently named North East Player of the Year along with Matt Ritchie, had been struggling with an ankle injury, however, he was deemed fit enough to be on the bench against Saturday's opponents Leicester.
Ray Wilkins stated his surprise at the decision to place the 24-year-old on the bench, on Goals on Sunday.
“I was very surprised that Lascelles was left on the bench yesterday," the Chronicle quotes Wilkins as saying.
“If he was fit enough to be on the bench I would have thrown him in to be perfectly honest.
“He has been a stalwart for Newcastle this year and has scored some vital goals, so that surprised me a touch.”
Lascelles had been missing for Newcastle since he sustained an injury in a defeat to Bournemouth back in November. The Magpies have failed to win any of their games in their captain's absence, losing four and drawing one.
Lascelles may well make his return to Newcastle's starting lineup in Wednesday night's clash with Everton at St James' Park.
The England Under-21 international will be hoping to secure Newcastle's first clean sheet since October.