Christian Atsu has seen his Africa Cup of Nations cut short with a severe hamstring injury, just days before Newcastle are due back for pre-season training.
Now-former boss Rafa Benitez had requested that the bulk of the first-team re-assembles at the club’s Benton Training Centre on July 4 for the start of pre-season, but Modern Ghana expect Atsu will undergo further scans upon his return to Tyneside later this week.
Ghana Crusader, meanwhile, note Magpies medical staff have already been in communication with the Ghanaian Football Association to ascertain the severity of the blow and to discuss the best course of action, after the 27-year-old was forced off the pitch during his country’s penultimate Group Stage fixture against Cameroon on Saturday.
Scans on Sunday at a hospital near the team’s base in Egypt suggest the strain will keep Atsu out of action for several weeks, and the winger was absent for Ghana’s last training session ahead of their must-win match with Guinea Bissau on Tuesday evening.
The 60-cap ace’s departure from the tournament would have been a bitter pill for Ghana to swallow, as the Black Stars were likely counting on the FC Porto product being capable of delivering the same kind of form he displayed in 2015 to be named the best player of the competition.
Atsu had suffered a substantial knee injury toward the end of the 2017/18 domestic term which ruled the 5 ft 4 winger out of our final six games, but he returned for the recent campaign to make 32 appearances in all competitions, and scored the initial equaliser against Liverpool in May, 2019 as we lost 3-2.