ALEKSANDAR MITROVIC provided Rafael Benitez with another reminder of his goalscoring abilities this afternoon as he scored Serbia’s second goal in a 2-0 win over China.

Having already qualified for next summer’s World Cup in Russia, Serbia headed to the Chinese city of Guangzhou to kick off their preparations for the finals.

Mitrovic played a pivotal role in Serbia’s qualifying matches, scoring six goals in his side’s Group D campaign as they finished ahead of both the Republic of Ireland and Wales.

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He was on target again today, heading home Andrija Zivkovic’s second-half cross to double Serbia’s lead as they claimed what was ultimately a comfortable victory.

Mitrovic’s star billing on the international stage stands in marked contrast to his peripheral role at Newcastle United, with Benitez clearly sceptical about his qualities.

The striker has not made a single Premier League start all season, and has only come off the bench on two occasions as he has slipped to fourth position in the Magpies’ attacking pecking order behind Joselu, Dwight Gayle and Ayoze Perez.

He was an unused substitute in last weekend’s 1-0 defeat to Bournemouth, remaining on the bench in the closing stages even though Newcastle were crying out for someone to hold up the ball in the final third.

He is unlikely to make the starting line-up for next weekend’s Premier League game at Manchester United, and will be made available for sale when the transfer window reopens in January.

Christian Atsu is a major doubt for the trip to Old Trafford, having sustained a thigh muscle tear that will keep him out of Ghana’s World Cup qualifier with Egypt on Sunday.

The Ghanaian FA have confirmed Atsu will not be involved in the game as he is still suffering from the leg injury he sustained in the closing stages of last weekend’s loss to Bournemouth.

There is still a chance he could recover in time to line up against Manchester United, but Newcastle’s medical staff will be monitoring him closely once he returns to England and Benitez will be understandably reluctant to take any risks.

If Atsu is ruled out of next weekend’s game, Benitez could turn to either Jacob Murphy or Rolando Aarons, both of whom have struggled to force their way into the first-team picture this season.