Newcastle players shun media in dispute with club over bonuses

Jamaal Lascelles organises the Newcastle wall before a freekick during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Arsenal

Newcastle's squad have withdrawn co-operation with the media as part of a dispute with the club over bonuses for the upcoming season, Sky sources understand.

The players refused to give up their time for "walk up" shots for television companies at the club's Darsley Park training ground on Monday. This came after the players declined to speak to the media after two recent pre-season friendlies.

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Asked why his players would not speak to the media after last week's 4-0 loss to Braga, manager Rafael Benitez said: "As I say things aren't going well off the pitch and you can see a reflection."~

Season preview: Newcastle reliant on Rafa

The players were involved in a similar dispute with the Newcastle hierarchy ahead of the last campaign. That matter was resolved after club captain Jamaal Lascelles reportedly spoke directly to owner Mike Ashley.

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Newcastle boss Benitez has cut a frustrated figure in pre-season despite last month declaring he would like to stay on Tyneside for "five or 10 years" provided the club's ownership supports him in improving the squad.

The Spaniard later admitted he had no choice but to "wheel and deal" in the transfer market. Benitez has done exactly that by offloading Aleksandar Mitrovic, Mikel Merino, Chancel Mbemba, Matz Sels and Adam Armstrong.

Kenedy celebrates after scoring for Newcastle against Southampton
Image: Kenedy has returned to St James' Park on a season-long loan from Chelsea

Yoshinori Muto and Fabian Schar are among the players to have arrived on Tyneside, with Salomon Rondon set arrive on loan from West Brom before the transfer window slams shut.

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Newcastle begin the new season at home to Tottenham on Saturday lunchtime, live on Sky Sports.

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