Player Describes Rafa’s Complete Obsession With Football

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It’s somehow fitting and right that a Newcastle United manager should be  completely obsessed with football and seems to work at his job around the clock.

Rafa Benitez brought in some very good players for us last summer to get us out of the Championship at the very first attempt and one of those was one of our favorites – 22 year-old Defensive midfielder Isaac Hayden.

Isaac has had a great first season on Tyneside and played 38 times for us (31 starts) with two good goals.

Rafa Benitez with Isaac Hayden

The former Arsenal trainee  has given a long interview in the Times and he talks about how Rafa will talk at length with the cleaners after a game and go into great detail about what actually happened.

The 57 year-old is so obsessed with football that Rafa will talk to anybody who will listen and of course he understands the game and the tactics employed in great detail and what he says as a summary of the game is often golden.


Isaac Hayden has given an insight into the man who seems obsessed with leading Newcastle United back to greatness.

We love it!!

This is some of what Isaac has said:

“He’s been nothing but warm, whether it’s with me, the cleaners, whoever,”

“He’ll have a 10-minute conversation with the cleaners about the match. He’ll talk to anybody; physio, players, and support staff, exactly the same as if you’re Cristiano Ronaldo.”

“It doesn’t matter to him. Although if you get him on Real Madrid, you’ll be there for a while!” “He’s got stories about players, the club, which is all good because it adds to my experience.”

“I’d not played centre-half in two years and he said: ‘We’ve got injuries, we need you there.’” “Then he said: ‘I remember when I had to tell Javier Mascherano to play at centre-half.’”

“That gave me confidence. He’s talking to me about things that he’s told Mascherano.”

“If I want to talk to him about tactics, he’s always there for me.” .

“Rafa’s obsessed with football. When we lost to Ipswich, I was in his office the next day at 9am, going through the clips and he told me where I went wrong.”

“He’s very honest. I could be sitting there with Jonjo Shelvey and Rafa could say: ‘Look, Jonjo, Isaac’s better than you at this, this and this.’ And then: ‘Isaac, he’s better than you at this, this and this.’”

“Some players might not like it. But this year everybody’s got on with it, whether playing, or on the bench.”

“It’s his passion for the game that drew me in. I love football and I want to improve to be the best I can.”

“I haven’t worked so hard for all those years to be mediocre. Rafa’s got the same drive and determination I have.”

“It’s the culture Rafa brings – a family mentality,”

“He’s goes: ‘Look, if you’re not playing, it’s because of you, not because of anyone else, not because of me, it’s you.”

“You’ve not done enough in training, or when you’ve performed, to make me want to keep you in the team.’”

“He’s fair. He’ll give you a chance, a game, whether it’s a cup game, 20 minutes, and you have to do something in that time to show him you want to play for Newcastle.”

“He’s made it a situation where Newcastle isn’t a stepping stone. He says you should ant to put on this black-and-white shirt, going out and giving 100 per cent, and if you don’t, you won’t play.”

“He makes it so that players are desperate to play, not only for him but for the club and that’s why we’ve had the success this season.”

I sometimes wonder how we ever got Rafa Benitez at Newcastle and then kept him even though we were relegated last year.

That must surely qualify as a miracle ……

Rafa was born to be the Newcastle United manager and he seems completely dedicated to making Newcastle into a side to be feared in Europe over the next few years.

Howay The Bonnie Lads!!

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