RAFAEL BENITEZ is confident Miguel Almiron will be able to handle the physical challenges thrown up by the Premier League, but is yet to decide whether to hand Newcastle United’s record signing a debut in Monday’s game at Wolves.

Almiron took part in his third full training session with his new team-mates yesterday, having been granted a work permit in the wake of his £20.7m move from Atlanta United earlier this week.

The Paraguayan was crowned MLS Player of the Year last season, but while the standard of the American league has risen dramatically in the last few years, it remains some way short of the English top-flight.

Benitez expects the 24-year-old to take time to adapt to the demands of the Premier League, with the intensity of the matches likely to be markedly different to anything he experienced in the United States, but the Newcastle boss is confident Almiron’s attitude and character will help him cope.

“He is fine and his training has been good,” said Benitez. “He is fit and is a player with good stamina and pace. He is mobile and quite dynamic. The question now is what will happen with the physicality of the Premier League - that is the main difference between the Premier League and the MLS.

“What I can say about Miguel is that he is a nice lad, a worker and has been training well. He has already been talking to the nutritionists, so he is quite professional. I think he will be okay.”

Almiron’s lack of English is a major handicap, but the midfielder has been able to converse with Benitez and his coaching team in Spanish and insists he has settled in well in his first week on Tyneside.

He was reasonably fit when he arrived, having spent part of last month in pre-season training with Atlanta, but it remains to be seen whether he is given a starting spot at Molineux in two days’ time or named on the bench.

“He can’t understand English too well yet, but he can talk Spanish with us so he knows what we want from him on the pitch,” said Benitez. “To come to another league is quite difficult. They need time to adapt, but he can talk to players in Spanish. I need to decide (whether he starts), but he definitely has chances to be in the squad.”

The competition for places has intensified dramatically in the last few days, with Almiron and Antonio Barreca’s arrival coinciding with the return of a quartet of senior players.

Paul Dummett, Ki Sung-yueng and Mo Diame are available after completing their recovery from injury, while Yoshiniro Muto flew back to Tyneside at the start of the week after completing his international duties with Japan at the Asian Cup.

Dummett will hope to replace Matt Ritchie at left wing-back on Monday, with Ki, Diame and Muto joining a midfield contingent that also features Sean Longstaff, Isaac Hayden, Ayoze Perez, Christian Atsu and Kenedy.

Jonjo Shelvey is the only senior outfield player unavailable, and even he has returned to light training as he completes his recovery from a calf problem.

“They are all training well,” said Benitez. “I am happy with Sean, he has been doing well, so that is a difficult decision for me this week. But it is not just that one, it is difficult to pick the whole of the team and squad.

“It is not just the starting XI to decide on, it is the 18 players in the squad. Everybody is fine, that is good news because competition is always positive for the team. It is especially important to have everyone at this time when you are playing for everything. It is good to have more bodies and competition, and in the end that can only be good for the team.”

After taking on Wolves on Monday, Benitez will take his first-team squad to Spain for a warm-weather training camp. Newcastle’s early exit from the FA Cup means they do not have a game next weekend, so Benitez has organised a training break that will feature a friendly with Russian side CSKA Moscow.

Last season, Newcastle embarked on a three-game winning run after a mid-season break at the same Spanish training base, and Benitez is hoping next week’s trip will lead to a similar outcome.

“We did it last year, and we will go for training again,” said the Magpies boss. “It won’t be a holiday – we will be having double training sessions and working hard.

“What we wanted was good conditions, good weather and everybody sticking together. It think it’s an opportunity to get to know each other and fix the things we need to fix in terms of tactics.

“Over there, you have more time (together). Maybe we will organise a dinner, but really we just do normal things. It’s just a change of environment.

“It was quite positive last year, and hopefully it will be positive again.

“Last time, we came back from Spain and won three games in a row. If we can do the same, it will be quite good.”