DUBAI: Newcastle United signed off their trip to the United Arab Emirates with an emphatic 5-0 win over Gulf United.
Continuing his return to full fitness, Allan Saint-Maximin netted two goals, along with forgotten man Dwight Gayle, while midfield enforcer Joelinton also got on the scoresheet in the victory against the side managed by former Newcastle defender Steven Taylor.
The game brought an end to the Magpies’ second trip to the Middle East in less than two months. They are understood to be returning to Tyneside in the next 24 hours.
Two players who did not feature in the game, but were at the Nad Al Sheba Sports Complex for the duration of the weeklong warm weather camp, were Callum Wilson and Kieran Trippier.
Both, however, are nearing a return to full training.
Arab News understands the trip to Norwich City on April 23 has been penciled in as a cautious return date for former England striker Wilson.
Trippier, however, has hinted he could be back sooner.
Speaking to NUFC TV from the Gulf, he said: “The recovery is going really well. The ankle is not as tight now and it has been really good progress while we’ve been out here. I’m looking forward to stepping up the return.
“When you’ve got the boot on, people think it's worse than it actually is, or on crutches, it looks bad. For me, mentally, it was just about getting out of the boot, at the right time.
“I am just happy to be doing my rehab with the team.”
Trippier has not kicked a ball since limping out of Newcastle’s home victory over Aston Villa in February, a game in which he scored his second winner for the club in less than seven days.
Due to the nature of the injury — a broken metatarsal on the left foot — many feared the player’s season could be over, but that could not be further from the truth.
“I know my body, I know how it is reacting. Up to now, everything I have been doing in the rehab room, I have had no reaction — so that is positive news,” said the former Atletico Madrid fullback.
“I’d like to be on the pitch as soon as possible,” Trippier said. “It was a break, we have to take that into account. But I have been speaking to the manager on a daily basis. He has been asking me how I am feeling. And when the time is right, he will be the first to know.”