Seydou Doumbia will be expected to prove himself on his return to Newcastle United following a bust-up with his international coach Michel Dussuyer.
The striker, who is on loan at United from AS Roma, did not travel to Sudan for the Ivory Coast’s 1-1 draw in the African Cup of Nations qualifiers. He had been an unused sub in the Ivory Coast’s previous game with Sudan last Friday but walked out of the camp for the second fixture. Doumbia was also left out of Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle squad for the 1-1 draw with Sunderland. It is understood the player has not hit the required level of quality in training in order to force his way into the Newcastle manager’s plans so far.
Doumbia has made just three substitute appearances so far and Benitez and his coaching team have made it clear there can be no passengers in United’s crucial Premier League run-in. Benitez wants every player in a position to challenge for a first team place and at present Doumbia has been off the pace.
Newcastle are unlikely to make his loan deal permanent with the player required to make 10 appearances in the Premier League in order to trigger what is now looking like a fanciful £17.4million payday for AS Roma.
Doumbia will be expected to team up with the United squad ahead of their crunch trip to Norwich but is now some way down the pecking order with Aleksandar Mitrovic, Ayoze Perez, Papiss Cisse and Siem de Jong now all ahead of him.