Andros Townsend was the first high profile player to leave Newcastle in the summer, when at the end of June he told Rafa Benitez he wanted to leave the club and the Newcastle manager moved quickly to get Matt Ritchie from Bournemouth in as a replacement.
And Matt has been so good this season that we have hardly missed Andros, although if he had stayed Ritchie on one wing and Andros on the other would have been awesome.
Andros Townsend and Rafa Benitez at Newcastle
Andros recently said he moved so he could retain his England place after his career was reignited once he moved to Newcastle last January.
And the 25 year-old only just missed out on the England squad of 23 for the European Championship in the summer.
This is what Andros has said in the Mirror about Rafa Benitez and his move to Crystal Palace:
“He understood when I made my decision, I dropped him a text to let him know,”
“Benitez texted to congratulate me on my England call-up.” “He understood and all is well there.”
“He’s fantastic, especially for me at the time. When he came in, I was injured for a bit, I was struggling a bit.”
“But from day one he put his faith in me, said he believed in me, that he wanted to help me progress my career, score goals and assist goals. I became a better player under him.”
“In my career, the biggest criticism of me has been the goals and the assists, not being as effective as I would like to.”
“Under Rafa I scored four goals in 12 games – it definitely improved my productivity in the final third.”
Those are good comments from Andros and they will certainly help Newcastle and Rafa get new players into the club in January and next summer.
Andros has looked good at Crystal Palace this season, but what Andros doesn’t realize is that Rafa could have made him into an even better player if he had stayed at Newcastle.
And if all goes according to plan then Newcastle will be back in the Premier League next season and Rafa will push on from there.
Rafa Benitez’ stated goal for why he wanted to stay at Newcastle was to win trophies with the club and Andros could have been part of that.
But that will not happen now.