Newcastle rocked as Yoshinori Muto could miss FIVE games after Asian Cup call-up
Newcastle United's Yoshinori Muto is set to miss up to FIVE games after being called up by Japan for the Asian Cup.
Rafa Benitez's limited strike options will be depleted even further after Muto was called up for the tournament in the new year.
The Newcastle forward was not named in Hajime Moriyasu's initial 23-man squad, but has now been called up for the Cup, which will take place in the United Arab Emirates from January 5 to February 1, 2019.
He will join up with his international colleagues after the Magpies' home game against Manchester United on Wednesday, January 2 and could miss four league games as well as the Emirates FA Cup tie against Blackburn Rovers.
The 26-year-old - who joined Newcastle from Mainz 05 in the summer after playing in the 2018 World Cup finals for his country - has scored once in 11 appearances (five starts) so far for Rafa Benítez's side.
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As well as the Blackburn game, Muto could miss the trip to Chelsea, home games against Cardiff City and Manchester City, and the visit to Spurs if Japan - who have won the tournament a record four times - progress all the way to the final.
Muto's Magpies team-mate Ki Sung-yueng will represent South Korea in the competition. Ki revealed earlier this week that he is still in negotiations over his departure, but that the home game against Fulham on Saturday could be his last appearance for Newcastle.