London: Newcastle United’s Daryl Janmaat has been left with two broken fingers and an arm in a sling after coming off second best in an altercation with a wall in Southampton’s away dressing room at half-time last Saturday.
The Holland right-back was withdrawn with a groin injury in the 40th minute of Newcastle’s 3-1 defeat on the south coast and took his frustrations out on the wall as angry words were exchanged between Rafael Benitez’s players at the interval.
Newcastle declined to comment on the extraordinary incident but it is understood that Janmaat subsequently admitted he had been “stupid”.
He is now undergoing treatment for both injuries.
While the broken fingers will not rule him out of contention for Saturday’s now vital home game against Swansea City, the groin problem may yet sideline him for a match Benitez’s side must win in order to have any realistic chance of avoiding relegation.
Newcastle are 19th, six points adrift of fourth bottom Norwich City and two in arrears of 18th placed Sunderland but, like their Wearside neighbours – who visit Carrow Road on Saturday – have a game in hand on Alex Neil’s side.
Jamaal Lascelles, the former Nottingham Forest centre-half, is believed to have been particularly vocal in the dressing room at Southampton and he proved forthright in a subsequent BBC interview.
“We need bigger characters on the pitch, players who care and who are going to get after each other,” Lascelles said. “We have lacked it this season and no matter how good you are, if you don’t have that fight and hunger and desire, it doesn’t matter.
“We had Steve McClaren who is a great manager and now we’ve got Rafa Benitez, who is a great manager, so it’s clearly not that. It’s the players and we have to take full responsibility. It’s ourselves who need to change it and not the manager.
“We need to play with more heart. We’ve got flair players, tricky players, players with loads of talent, but we need more heart, we need more desire.”
Benitez has struggled with a lengthy injury list but, despite Janmaat’s groin problem, things seem to be improving slightly in that department.
Indeed, Fabricio Coloccini and Paul Dummett are expected to return to centre-half and left-back respectively at St James’ Park on Saturday following long-standing calf and hamstring injuries while Jack Colback has completed a two-match suspension.
Should Janmaat not be fit enough to start, Kevin Mbabu, newly recovered from a long-term thigh injury, could be deployed at right-back against Swansea.