Despite claims by Rafa Benitez that Jamaal Lascelles had missed Newcastle United's tie against Chelsea through injury, reports emerging this evening appear to suggest that there is a great deal of unrest between certain players within the club.
Having endured a difficult pre-season where it became evermore apparent that the Spaniard was not going to be allotted the funds he felt were required to strengthen the team, the Newcastle United players had their own troubles with the club's ownership also.
Reported in the Daily Mail this evening, Craig Hope outlined what may have preempted Lascelles surprise omission from the starting XI last weekend.
Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles and winger Matt Ritchie were involved in a furious training-ground scrap and had to be separated by team-mates. [The] argument between the pair during a practice session spilled over into the dressing-room at the club’s North Tyneside base. It is understood Lascelles then physically confronted Ritchie and the pair were dragged apart by other players.
It is understood that Lascelles, who joined United from Nottingham Forest in 2014, opposed his manager's tactical outlook for the game against Chelsea.
Matt Ritchie, who joined from Bournemouth in 2016, is reported to have taken exception to Lascelles' behaviour, and admonished the club captain for not simply getting on with it.
With Newcastle set to take on Forest in a League Cup tie tomorrow evening, it is unknown whether Lascelles will be involved. However, with Manchester City next on the horizon for Benitez's men, it is certain he would rather have two of his most important players on speaking terms and playing for the club.