Newcastle star Jamaal Lascelles is to finally undergo hernia surgery after playing with the injury for most of this year. Manager Rafa Benitez had insisted on keeping the problem secret with only Newcastle’s medical staff aware of the situation during 2017.

Defender Lascelles, 23, had been playing through the pain barrier as he been determined to lead the club to an instant return to the Premier League – and Benitez saw him as a key part of the team so was keen to delay surgery.

The former Nottingham Forest centre-back had been managing with the injury but went to see a specialist after the club’s sealed promotion with a 4-1 win over Preston – his 47th game of the season.

The specialist was shocked that Lascelles had been playing for so long despite needing a double hernia operation and urged immediate action.