Rafa Benitez has dropped Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles after a training-ground fallout over tactics, Sportsmail understands.
The defender is thought to have voiced his disapproval at the manager’s decision to play three at the back for Sunday’s visit of Chelsea.
Benitez has responded by axing Lascelles from the squad and will play summer signings Fabian Schar, Federico Fernandez and Ciaran Clark in his three-man backline.
We can reveal that the Spaniard trialled three at the back in training on Thursday and Lascelles was not happy when he was placed on the right of the three. It is thought he wanted to be in the centre.
Come Friday and Lascelles was not involved at all and Benitez has stuck to his guns for the game.
Lascelles was pictured in the stands at St James’ Park on Sunday afternoon.