Second Newcastle United defender withdraws from international duty after Sven Botman blow

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Two Newcastle United defenders have picked up injuries heading into the international break.

Newcastle United’s young defender Alex Murphy has been forced to withdraw from international duty because of injury.

The 19-year-old was called up to the Republic of Ireland’s under-21 squad for Euro qualifiers against Turkey and San Marino but has been replaced by Wigan Athletic defender Baba Adeeko.

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In a statement released by Ireland on Monday morning, they revealed Murphy suffered an unspecified injury during the young Magpies’ 4-0 defeat to Manchester City under-21s on Saturday and was therefore unavailable.

Murphy featured for Eddie Howe’s first-team during pre-season and particularly impressed in games versus Chelsea and Fiorentina. Against the former, Murphy was introduced as a left-back following an early injury at Fabian Schar.

And in the Switzerland international’s absence, Murphy lined up alongside Sven Botman as United beat Fiorentina 2-0 on his first senior start at St James’ Park.

“He did really well today,” said Howe after the game. “I think the beauty of his performances during pre-season is his versatility - he’s played left-back, left-sided centre-half and today right-sided centre-half.

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“For a very much left-footed player, it was a challenge for him but I thought he did really well. He was helped by Sven and Kieran’s experience alongside him.”

Botman added: “Alex is getting better every day and he is training well. Against Fiorentina, he proved again he is on the right track and he has to continue like this then see what happens.”

Howe confirmed Murphy will stay in and around the first-team this season. With Newcastle opting against signing a central defender during the summer transfer window, the Irishman isn’t too far away from being drafted into the starting XI, most likely for a Carabao Cup or FA Cup match.

Murphy is the second United defender to withdraw from international duty after Sven Botman, who hasn’t linked up with the Netherlands squad because of an ankle injury.

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