Once Rafa accepted the job at Newcastle on May 25th – 10 days after the season finished – he put changes in place for the Benton Training center that he wanted completed before pre-season training started today – and those goals were met.
They included laying two 4G artificial pitches in place of the older 3G ones and equipping the gym out with the latest advanced equipment.
Rafa Benitez – back for pre-season training
Rafa also had the inside of the Benton Training grounds reconfigured and repainted to both freshen things up and make it more workable for the players and the staff – and it included having his own office refurbished.
This is the most that’s been done to improve facilities at Newcastle for years.
Here’s what Rafa has said today about some of the changes he has made:
“The summer was short because we were busy. The players have enjoyed the summer, holidays with their families and they come back ready.”
“I met some of them and they can see the change in the facilities. I met them and they seem quite positive.”
“I feel they enjoyed their holidays but they want to play football. They are happy to be here and to train.”
“We changed things in the dressing rooms, offices and showers and everyone has a bit more space – it’s more color, it’s brighter.”
“Hopefully they will be more comfortable and they don’t need to waste time thinking about anything other than football.”
“One of the things is to improve the player’s room. They can enjoy it and play some games.”
“When you train in the morning and afternoon, you can stay there and have lunch. I think it’s good for the team.”
And I almost forgot – Rafa was the driving force in getting three new players brought in over the last three days.
They are 24 year-old goalkeeper Matz Sels from Gent, 25 year-old striker Dwight Gayle from Crystal Palace and 26 year-old right winger Matt Ritchie from Bournemouth – all good players with great attitudes.
You could say Rafa’s done quite a lot in the short time he’s been the full-time manager at Newcastle.
Assuming Colo joins San Lorenzo after he has been released by Newcastle and Remy Cabella is sold to Marseille for £7.3M, here’s the state of the transfers at Newcastle on the 1st July.
|Matz Sels||£4.5M||KAA Gent|
|Dwight Gayle||£10M||Crystal Palace|
|Jesus Gamez||£1.5M||Atletico Madrid|
|Ciaran Clark||£5M||Aston Villa|
|Mohamed Diame||£4.5M||Hull City|
|Daryl Murphy||£3M||Ipswich Town|
|Christian Atsu||Loan - season||Chelsea|
|Transfer Fees In||£54.5M|
|Gabby Obertan||Released||Anzhi Makhachkala|
|Steven Taylor||Released||Portland Timbers|
|Fabricio Coloccini||Released||San Lorenzo|
|Andros Townsend||£13M||Crystal Palace|
|Papiss Cisse||£2.5M||Shandong Luneng|
|Florian Thauvin||Loan - season||Marseille|
|Siem de Jong||Loan - season||PSV|
|Kevin Mbabu||Loan - season||BSC Young Boys|
|Henri Saivet||Loan - season||St. Etienne|
|Tim Krul||Loan - January||Ajax|
|Tim Krul||Loan from January||AZ Alkmaar|
|Gael Bigirimana||Free||Coventry City|
|Adam Armstrong||Loan - season||Barnsley|
|Emmanuel Riviere||Loan - season||CA Osasuna|
|Jamie Sterry||Loan - January||Coventry City|
|Haris Vuckic||Loan - January||Bradford City|
|Sammy Ameobi||Loan - January||Bolton Wanderers|
|Moussa Sissoko||£30M||Tottenham Hotspur|
|Transfer Fees Out||£85.5M|