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News and Commentary On Newcastle United By Ed Harrison, A Proud Exiled Geordie And Lifelong Fan

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These Are The First Changes Rafa Will Make At Newcastle

9:28 am, Friday, May 27th, 2016 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 15 Comments

Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez was with Managing Director Lee Charnley yesterday and started to put into action some of the changes he has recommended at the club, following his nine weeks in charge at the end of last season.

Two of those areas are the Benton training facilities and the Youth Academy, so it wasn’t too surprising that Rafa and Lee were at Benton and met with Youth Academy manager Joe Joyce.

benitez charnley joyce

Benitez, Charnley and Joyce yesterday at Benton

Rafa has stressed there is not much time until June 28th, when players not involved with International duty will report back to training.

That’s 32 days away – just over four weeks.

Rafa is working with Lee and facilities manager Eddie Rutherford and has started work on changes to the infrastructure, equipment and various facilities at the training ground.

That’s directed towards optimizing the players’ training, recovery, rehabilitation and relaxation – and hopefully that will have a positive effect in reducing the number of injuries we have next season.

Rafa also wants improvements made to the facilities used by his coaching and backroom staff, to the medical department and to the indoor training pitch – so it will be interesting to know specifically the specific kinds of changes being implemented.

Rafa also discussed changes he wants made at the Youth Academy and met up with Joe Joyce later in the day – as shown in the photo above.

This is what Rafa has said on the Newcastle site:

“For me, the work and planning for next season never really stopped, but it was very good to get back to the training ground and the Academy today to start putting some of my plans into action.”

“We don’t have long before the pre-season starts and we can’t lose any time.” “I know that when the players report back for training at the end of June we will have made some good improvements that will really benefit the Club.”

“I said last night that we have a very tough task ahead of us in the Championship next season and we cannot underestimate the job we have to do.”

“It’s important to get as many things as we can sorted as soon as possible so we can start the new season with the best chance of success.”

“I also spent some really useful time at the Academy with Joe, as it’s very important we have the right systems in place to attract young players to the club and develop them as hopefully first team players of the future.”

“I can assure all our fans that we are doing everything we can to get things right, on and off the pitch, so we can all be proud of this great football club.”

So we should see improvements by the time the players report back for pre-season training on June 28th.

A good question is when will those changes be made at Benton to turn the facilities into world-class facilities that we were first told about those in November, 2013 when Joe Kinnear was at the club.

Maybe they will be made next summer when hopefully we are a Premier League club again?

We’re sure it’s one thing Rafa wants completed very quickly and he has already modified the original plans to what he wants when the work is finally completed.

Comments welcome.

Tags: Coaching · Facilities · Fitness · Medical · Newcastle News · Training Ground

15 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Slank // May 27, 2016 at 9:32 AM


    expatmag @ 6

    I don’t see the logic of loaning out Sissoko and Wijnaldum.

    One was our leading goal scorer and the other the player with the most assists.

  • 2 JP...from The Rock // May 27, 2016 at 9:37 AM


    I would like us to go for McCormack now and then ship out Cisse and find another ST. With McCormack you know we’re guaranteed goals in this division. He is lethal and quick and sets up loads of chances. I can imagine a front three of McCormack, Mitro and Armstrong. With Ayoze just behind. We will be killing defences with that set up.

  • 3 Jib // May 27, 2016 at 9:42 AM

    With us (according to the Ronnie Gill) playing Shamrock Rovers in early July.
    I wouldn’t be surprised to see us also play Bray Wanderers as they have just appointed Roker Park hero Liam O’Brien as asst. manager.
    If Munster doesn’t fancy Tallaght he can always visit the seaside in County Wicklow.

  • 4 Bobbybee // May 27, 2016 at 9:45 AM

    What a nice change to see the manager involved at all levels of football. This makes the transition from Academy/U21’s to first team football a lot easier. Those moving up know exactly what’s expected of them and will play the same way. Look up dedication in the dictionary and Rafa’s smiling face is what you see. 😉

  • 5 The overrated Frenchman // May 27, 2016 at 9:50 AM

    I agree with the sentiment that Sissoko and Wijnaldum are unsuited to the nitty-gritty life in the Championship. Not made of the right stuff. Loan or sell.

  • 6 hibbitt // May 27, 2016 at 9:55 AM


    like yourself i am a big fan of arma just think your putting a big weight on him in the eyes of the blog most on here haven’t got a clue on how good he is they base there opinions on a few minutes mc clown played in a team getting pulled all over the place

    arma had a great start at coventry but when the plays who were feeding him went back to there own clubs the players mowbray brought in were just not as good
    so arma and coventry both dried up

    i do believe if rafa gives him a chance he will take it
    just not sure were rafa would play him to get the best out of him as rafa tends to play only one at the front

  • 7 Toonfan8 // May 27, 2016 at 9:57 AM

    everybody is writting of Sissoko or Wijnaldum, but I think when they will stay, you will be surprised, how good they will be next season under RB.

  • 8 Ron Knee // May 27, 2016 at 10:06 AM

    If Wijnaldum wants to leave, let him go. Or do we want a repeat of the Cabaye situation?

  • 9 jimmysmith // May 27, 2016 at 10:11 AM

    We have some prima donnas, but they are also top notch players, and kids compared to Benitez. He’ll sort them out.

  • 10 geordie157 // May 27, 2016 at 10:14 AM

    I still don’t really see de jong getting much game time, Perez, Gini, Sissoko and even Armstrong can play there.

  • 11 Bobbybee // May 27, 2016 at 10:17 AM

    Hibbett, those of us who’ve watched him develop know how good he’s going to be. He’s simply the best thing to come through our academy since gazza. He’s put under no pressure from me because i have no influence on anything that happens at NUFC. People who’ve never seen him, saying he’s not good enough is risible. It really doesn’t matter how much i rate him anyway, i don’t pick the team. That said, the striker needs to score goals, regardless of his size and weight. His goal ratio is far and away better than anybody else in the squad and the sheer quality of his goals tells you this is no fluke. He’ll score in any league. A big man up front is fine if he scores, but ours have been firing blanks for too long. I think Rafa will find a place for him even if it means building the attack round him. Natural scorers are a rare commodity and he is so natural you can’t ignore him.

  • 12 Sav // May 27, 2016 at 10:25 AM

    Should run a csaption competition for that photo, Ed.

  • 13 Bobbybee // May 27, 2016 at 10:26 AM

    I’m not even convinced that Rafa will play a strict 4231 in the Championship. Especially at home, against teams where we don’t require two holding midfielders. He’ll pick horses for courses and rotate the squad regularly, depending who we play. This will give him chance to see how players can adapt and play together in differing formations. If you’ve got a natural goalscorer, you find a way to play him. The simple fact remains that if our two strikers had taken their chances, we wouldn’t be where we are now.

  • 14 robertsleftfoot // May 27, 2016 at 10:38 AM


    He is the best thing to come out of the academy since Gazza?????

    A) Very little has come out of our academy since Gazza!!

    B) He is a decent player but dont be building him up to be a new Rooney because that he is not.

    The lad is quick and for a small guy he can hold the ball up well. I would look at the Championship being his standard. To suggest otherwise would suggest you may not have watched him quite as many times as you are letting on

  • 15 Blofal // May 27, 2016 at 11:10 AM

    I think we will sell Wijnaldum and possibly Janmaat but keep Sissoko. We will also keep Townsend and Shelvey.

    We will be selling our fringe players who can’t get a game like Riviere, Saivet and Gouffran and replacing them with players proven in the championship.

    Cisse will go and will probably be replaced by McCormack if the rumours are true which is a good move. Leaving us with an attack of McCormack, Armstrong, Perez, Mitrovic and Toney.

    The most important thing for me is Tiote. If we hold onto him we will be fine. If we lose him we need someone just as good. A top class holding midfielder is essential to how Rafa sets up. Rafa will not be selling Tiote unless there is someone to replace him that is for sure. Our resurgence and improved defence was mainly due to Tiote and Colback huntiing down the opposition as a singe unit. Their impact I think is often overlooked.

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