MO DIAME admits he cannot really complain about Rafael Benitez’s decision to leave him out of the Newcastle United side for the majority of the season.

Diame has not made a single Premier League start this term, with his five appearances to date having come off the substitutes’ bench, and his frustrations are understood to have boiled over in training last week when he was involved in an altercation with skipper Jamaal Lascelles.

Jonjo Shelvey suffered a fractured hand when he broke up a clash between the pair, with Lascelles reportedly having described Diame as “lazy”.

Diame did not take kindly to the remarks, but the Senegalese midfielder accepts Newcastle’s strong start to the campaign means he cannot be too vociferous in his own criticism of Benitez’s selection policy.

Mikel Merino, Isaac Hayden and Shelvey have all performed creditably in the holding midfield positions, and for all that Ayoze Perez has not scored in the ‘number ten’ role, the Spaniard has performed a valuable function for the rest of the team.

“I just have to be patient,” said Diame. “When I come on, I need to show that I’m ready and I want to play like everyone.

“To be honest, he’s (Perez) playing very well. To be honest, all the team are doing a great effort. We’ve started most of the games with the same XI, because they have been doing brilliantly. If they are doing brilliantly, it's good for everyone, because I need to work harder for the team.”

In years gone by, Diame would have been jetting back into Tyneside today after representing Senegal on international duty.

However, having announced his international retirement in March, the 30-year-old has not had to make a stamina-sapping journey to Africa for a World Cup double-header.

He is hoping the lack of international action will help prolong his club career, and is determined to make an impact as quickly as possible.

“I've got my legs now,” he said. “My legs are back. I'm just waiting. I'm being patient. I have to make sure I'm ready for when the manager needs me. When your moment comes, you have to be ready. That's the most important thing.”

Newcastle’s international contingent enjoyed mixed fortunes as World Cup qualifying places were finalised this week.

Aleksandar Mitrovic set up Serbia’s winner in the 1-0 victory over Georgia that guaranteed their place in Russia next summer, while Ciaran Clark was heavily involved in Republic of Ireland’s 1-0 win over Wales that secured a play-off place at the expense of their opponents. Rob Elliot was an unused substitute in Cardiff.

There was not such good news for DeAndre Yedlin though, with the full-back featuring in the United States’ disastrous 2-1 defeat in Trinidad & Tobago. Having occupied a qualification place ahead of the final round of matches, the US dropped out of contention because of the loss and will not be involved in next summer’s finals.

Merino was also in international action this week, scoring the opening goal as Spain Under-21s cruised to a 4-1 win over Slovakia.