Rafa Benitez has just finished the Radio Newcastle call-in show with Mick Lowes where Newcastle fans had the opportunity to call in for an hour and ask questions of the Newcastle manager.
It was a fascinating call-in and Rafa did reveal some things that we had not been aware of before and of course fans could listen from around the world since it’s all available on the Internet.
We have put together some of the interesting points – but every fan should listen to the call-in once it’s available from Radio Newcastle.
Rafa Benitez – Newcastle manager
Here are some of the points we found interesting and not in any particular order:
- There will be an announcement tomorrow at 9:30 am when the club will announce the new captain for the season and what the numbers will be for the players.
There were two players who wanted to wear the number 9 jersey and Rafa suggested a competition to determine who should get it – but the players decided between themselves ho will wear the number 9 jersey – so somebody tomorrow will get the number 9 jersey – and Rafa said he knows all about it – and that Alan Shearer was once the iconic number 9 at Newcastle – of course.
But does he know who Jackie Milburn is?
- Rafa was asked a couple of times why he decided to stay at Newcastle and he said what basically he has said in the past – it was mainly because of the way the fans had related to him.
He also looked at the club and how massive it was, so those are the two major reasons he decided to stay at the club.
Rafa also mentioned that when he met with Mike Ashley the owner told him that he wanted Lee Charnley and Rafa to basically run the club together.
- On Ayoze Perez he said he thought his best position is behind the main striker – the number 10 position – but Ayoze will also have to be prepared to play in other positions – like on the wing.
He mentioned that Newcastle had indeed received two offers for Ayoze during the summer with one of them being quite a big offer – but the club turned them down because they want to keep Ayoze.
- Rafa was asked the difference between Liverpool and Newcastle since Liverpool has two clubs and Newcastle has but one.
Rafa said when he first went to Liverpool they got a great reception from the fans, but he pointed out they were winning from the off at Liverpool and he won the Champions League there in his very first season in 2005 at Liverpool.
He pointed out the difference at Newcastle was that the fans wanted him there after he had arrived and was basically losing because he was not able to save Newcastle.
That’s one difference that Rafa and his coaches saw.
- Rafa has brought in players who he thinks are young (if you are 26 you have 10 years left) but can grow into Premier League players in the future and that’s why he has offered most of them five year deals.
Rafa said if we are promoted then it’s obvious that Newcastle will have to buy more players.
- On the goalkeeper situation he brought in Matz Sels because Tim Krul and Rob Elliot would not be fit in August and it could take a few months before both are fit and well again.
So by the end of the year Newcastle could have five goalkeepers all competing for the first team position, but he’d rather have that than be short of goalkeepers.
He mentioned maybe in January he can send out young Freddie Woodman on loan, but it doesn’t seem any goalkeeper will leave Newcastle in August.
Tim Krul could still win back the number one jersey – or Rob Elliot could win the number one jersey – it will be based on performances and any one of four goalkeepers can win the jersey – he said Freddie was too young.
- On Moussa Sissoko he said that if he has to go then OK – as long as Newcastle receive the right offer for him, but if he has to stay that’s good too – because Moussa is a good player.
Rafa said he liked Moussa as a player and he also likes him as a person and he has talked to both the player and his agent on the current situation and thinks Moussa will be professional – whatever happens.
- The name of Rafa’s home in Liverpool is Lindisfarne – and he said he did want to visit Lindisfarne in Northumberland and his wife is a bit of a history buff and has been telling him of the history behind Holy Island – Rafa says he must visit Lindisfarne and fairly soon. Here’s some history on Lindisfarne – and there will (could) be a test on it at the end of this week.
- Rafa said he hasn’t talked to the new Sunderland manager Davide Moyes – mainly because they are both busy in a hectic pre-season – but they usually meet up and talk at the LMA meetings and that’s when he meets and talks with the other managers in the league.
- Rafa still wants maybe another three players brought in, but it looks like Rafa has given up on Anthony Knockaert of Brighton because it seems Brighton – who are a rival for promotion – will simply not sell him to Newcastle.
- Finally Rafa was asked a few times what his long terms goals are for the club and he said a couple of times – winning at Fulham on Friday. He is so pragmatic and didn’t want to talk too much – other than about this season and getting promoted.
But he did say that he wanted to build a team that could compete with any team and you can take that as if he wanted to build a tip-top team in Europe – it would need to be that if we can compete with any team in the future.
Although Rafa didn’t say that – I did. 🙂
here’s the link to BBC Radio Newcastle.