Minamino could start at Newcastle


Takumi Minamino could play from the start against Newcastle if Ralph Hasenhüttl decides to use him, the manager has confirmed.

Minamino made the switch from Liverpool on transfer deadline day earlier this week, joining on loan for the remainder of the season, and is likely to be in the squad for the first time at St James' Park tomorrow.

Although the 26-year-old attacking midfielder has only had a short opportunity to train with his Saints teammates, Hasenhüttl is not disregarding him as an option to start.

"It should be possible," he said. "I know he didn't play so much in the past, but he's fit. He knows a little bit about the pressing football we want to play.

"It's good that he understands everything I want to tell him, not only because he is also speaking German – and I think at the moment his German is better than his English – but it is also helpful for me because I can explain to him everything.

"He is a good guy, and you see immediately the quality he has on the ball. I don't expect now for him to decide the game on the weekend for us immediately, I think when he plays a proper game and helps us in every part of the game then we are more successful I think with him."

With the January transfer window a notoriously difficult one to secure high-quality signings in, Hasenhüttl was particularly pleased with the capture of Minamino, who he had also admired even before he moved to Anfield in January 2020.

"Last winter I was really disappointed we could not get a player like him in, because he was coming from Salzburg and he went to Liverpool," he said.

"I understand he played fantastic games against them in the Champions League. I am sure he will fit to our game, because he knows all the habits we need, and that means we need to bring him to the position where he can help us the most and he must help us then with good decision-making, with good passes, with good dribbling and hopefully he scores a few goals for us, that would be helpful."