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Rafa To Make Many Changes At The Club This Summer

Rafa has answered even more questions during the Chronicles’ extended and exclusive interview with the Newcastle United manager.

Overall Rafa seems to be satisfied with what he’s achieved so far in such a short time-frame – just over a year – and we think he’s done a tremendous job for the club.

But there are still many things to do of course and if we can get that promotion this summer then it’s going to be a very busy summer for Rafa and the Newcastle club in general.

Academy manager Joe Joyce and Rafa Benitez last April

Rafa first of all will want to once again overhaul the Newcastle squad  and make it more than Premier League ready, so players will come in and lots of our existing players will be sold.

We would expect Rafa to continue making big improvements to the training grounds at Benton too, since he seemed less than impressed with them when he first arrived.

And since the club was going to install world-class facilities there that were announced way back in November 2013 – over three years ago – we wonder what the status of those improvements are with Rafa now managing the club?

Here are a couple of questions that Rafa was asked by the Chronicle – the first about Siem de Jong doing well on loan and the second about changes made at the Youth Academy.

1) Rafa was reminded that Siem de Jong is scoring goals out on loan with PSV ( 6 goals in 19 games) and he was asked if Siem has a future at Newcastle:

“We are following all the players on loan, we try to watch their games and keep in touch with them regularly. We will decide what is the best for us and them at the end of the season.”

“But I’m happy to see Siem doing well of course.”

We would be very surprised if Siem stays at Newcastle this summer, but at least his much improved form at PSV Eindhoven will make his transfer much easier to achieve – especially back to a Dutch club.

Newcastle will have a decent chance of recouping the £6M we paid Ajax for him almost three years ago.

2) Another question posed to Rafa was whether the changes made at the Academy were paying dividends this season – and what were the specific changes made:

“We started with some sessions and meetings with the coaches, sharing our ideas and making sure we have a united approach to the development of players throughout the club. The new 4G pitch was needed too, it was a big improvement.”

“We made some changes in the scouting department and also some young players have been training with us on a number of occasions to get experience and development.”

“But still we have to make some further changes. I am sure they will continue the hard work at the Academy to continue improving.”

Rafa has reduced the number injuries this season by a massive amount and it looks like it may have been the artificial pitches (old 3G technology) that was the major reason for those many hamstringing injuries our players used to pick up.

That’s just one good thing Rafa has done this season.

Comments welcome.

27 comments so far

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Mar 25, 2017 at 1:48 PM

    Comment #1

    Be great to see some of the youngsters coming through, just wonder if the pre-Rafa ones might have progressed more successfully with him overseeing their training.

    Or even if the likes of Vukic could still have a future at the club.

  • AncientC

    Mar 25, 2017 at 1:53 PM

    Comment #2

    WW, why would it be personal? I don’t know you from Adam.

    Any claims I made, had basis. The Suarez transfer, you didn’t provide any evidence during that debate, you generally scoffed and laughed. Hence when I questioned your character when it comes to providing and accepting information.

    As for calling you Dim. If you don’t want to be called dim, don’t act it by asking me dim questions. For example:

    So why would Thauvin take action against us if Suarez wouldnt take any against Liverpool?”

    “Do u know what the PFA is?”

    I am sure you will live.

  • AncientC

    Mar 25, 2017 at 2:02 PM

    Comment #3

    “And since the club was going to install world-class facilities there that were announced way back in November 2013 – over three years ago – we wonder what the status of those improvements are with Rafa now managing the club?”

    That one came up in the last Fans Forum as I recollect. Not much further by those accounts. The club have made differences to the original plans, but no date scheduled. Dragging on just a bit…

    There were some rumours at the time, that the finances for the training ground upgrades were already taken out of the club – if that is true, where has the money been sitting all this time.


    Mar 25, 2017 at 2:14 PM

    Comment #4

    Let just leave it eh?

  • AncientC

    Mar 25, 2017 at 2:20 PM

    Comment #5

    Sure… I gave you that opportunity on the last thread. This time…

    Oh well, it has upped the number of posts on the blog, in what appears to be a period of slow-down.

  • NoahJ

    Mar 25, 2017 at 2:35 PM

    Comment #6

    In all honesty, I’d quite like to see siem de jong given another chance to impress at newcastle. yes he was slow but I always thought he was an intelligent player who could control midfields; if he stays fit, he could be an excellent player for us

    god how i hate international breaks 🙁

  • JackBall

    Mar 25, 2017 at 2:49 PM

    Comment #7

    Noah – The two week break is tough for those of us who like the game or two a week, but I think it came at the perfect time for the team. Resting a few nagging injuries and a regrouping was in order.

  • NoahJ

    Mar 25, 2017 at 3:24 PM

    Comment #8

    ^ true, doesn’t make it any less boring though

  • mactoon

    Mar 25, 2017 at 3:36 PM

    Comment #9

    Your whole article is based on Rafa staying at the club. He wont discuss anything further than the next game and if Ashley has changed the goalposts in terms of Rafa having control of transfers I fear he could walk away with a promotion on his CV and his reputation untarnished, unlike McClaren and Pardew who let Ashley walk all over them

  • Jib

    Mar 25, 2017 at 3:43 PM

    Comment #10

    “mactoon // Your whole article is based on Rafa staying at the club.”

    No it’s not

    Go and talk bollix on a mackem site – if you can fight your way through the accumulated tumbleweed .

  • JohnJ

    Mar 25, 2017 at 4:29 PM

    Comment #11

    It’s massavely importtant that we retain the services of Rafa.

    Mr Ashley should be chomping at the bit to get the guy is potentially the best manager ever at NUFC signed up on an extended deal ASAP!

    I say “potentially” as KK & Sir Bobby are still ahead of Rafa in those steaks but it’s only a matter of time, if he’s given that time, in my opinion before he can prove to all at St James’ Park that he also deserves a statue outside the stadium.

    Haway the Lads

  • Belfast

    Mar 25, 2017 at 4:53 PM

    Comment #12

    It wouldn’t be as bad if they played the internationals mid week instead of this two week break bollox Noah.

    They should finish the club football on the Saturday and then play the international mid week. Then back to club football that weekend.

    Probably 90% of football fans dread these two week breaks.

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Mar 25, 2017 at 5:20 PM

    Comment #13

    Re Siem
    I reckon he’d do a better job at number 10 than HT

  • JamesToon

    Mar 25, 2017 at 5:26 PM

    Comment #14

    Re SDJ

    sell him. Cannot rely on a very injury prone player who’s done nothing in 3 years. Buy Tom Cairney, best number 10 in the championship, as many players have proven, championship is a good league to step up to the prem for players

  • Ron Knee

    Mar 25, 2017 at 7:43 PM

    Comment #15

    Following on from a draw with Portugal this week, the @England U20s beat France 0-1, away in Brittany. #NUFC ST @AdamArma9 with the goal.

  • jane

    Mar 25, 2017 at 8:03 PM

    Comment #16

    2012–2013 England U16 6 (2)
    2013–2014 England U17 12 (10)
    2014–2015 England U18 9 (8)
    2015–2016 England U19 9 (3)
    2016– England U20 5 (5)

    2014– Newcastle United 17 (0)
    2015–2016 ? Coventry City (loan) 40 (20)
    2016– ? Barnsley (loan) 22 (5

    will Rafa use him next season? don’t think so!

  • Hail Wor Ashley

    Mar 25, 2017 at 8:10 PM

    Comment #17

    Netherlands going to fail to make another tournament. Really a nation on the decline, coincided with us looking to that market for players.

    Currently 2-0 down to Bulgaria.

  • ronaldo aarons

    Mar 25, 2017 at 8:33 PM

    Comment #18

    Would move on sdj too, think with his injuries he’s lost something and don’t think he’ll adjust to the league.

    Good to see mitro scoring for his country, think there are two things that are different for him when he plays for us an them. The main one being he usually plays facing forward for Serbia but for us he usually has his back to goal. The other is that when he plays for us, he plays like someone who knows they don’t have the managers full backing. Not a knock on Rafa but he’s never really taken to him and isn’t the type of striker usually associated with his teams.

    Would love to see Armstrong get games for us, would love to see us use more youngsters like sterry, Findlay, good etc I don’t see them playing for us though as I’ve never seen Benitez as the type of manager that uses the kids in teams. It’s one thing I’ve always been disappointed about with the club is the reluctance to play youth. Only seem to play them due to an injury crisis.

  • magspuggy

    Mar 25, 2017 at 9:00 PM

    Comment #19

    I would love to see Armstrong back with us.

    This year I was disappointed to see him go back out on loan

    I think he’s better suited to this league than Perez.

    I hope rafa has plans for him to make it at nufc

    Is he premier standard ?? I think with us he would make it the gallowgate would carry him for at least half the year.

  • jane

    Mar 25, 2017 at 9:24 PM

    Comment #20

    Cheryl’s had a baby 🙂

  • jimmysmith

    Mar 25, 2017 at 9:29 PM

    Comment #21

    A fit De Jong, and Perez aren’t bad epl options at 10. Gayle, Mitro, Murphy, less so at 9 I think.

    I think 9, wing, centre mid, are particular concerns along with 10 if De Jong can’t prove his fitness, and then left back, and centre back.

  • The overrated Frenchman

    Mar 25, 2017 at 11:38 PM

    Comment #22

    rolando aaroms@18 – I agree with what you say about Mitrovic. Hasn’t played at NUFC under a manager with sufficient football intelligence to make best use of him. Likewise de Jong has no future here with FSW, for similar reasons.

  • Moonraker15

    Mar 26, 2017 at 2:03 AM

    Comment #23

    I too hate the international breaks but they were brought in through lack of success and the idea that the performances would improve if the Lads were training together for longer! However, if anything performances have got worse the more the players are together!

  • TyneMouth

    Mar 26, 2017 at 2:46 AM

    Comment #24

    Spring has sprung, goodbye Winter.
    Now, a sprint to the finish, hang on to your hats…

  • lesh

    Mar 26, 2017 at 2:52 AM

    Comment #25


    Spring has sprung, goodbye Winter……..

    Three years time we’ll be playing Inter.


  • one fine day

    Mar 26, 2017 at 7:07 AM

    Comment #26

    the overrated Frenchman,
    So Rafa “doesn’t possess sufficient football intelligence ” ?
    Mush have got lucky with all those cups n titles eh?
    De Jong has never been fit under Rafa or in my opinion ever will be .
    Tell me which manager you would have preferred to have taken us over at the same stage of decline as when Mr Benitez came in.?

  • one fine day

    Mar 26, 2017 at 8:01 AM

    Comment #27

    Are we expected to change our style to adapt to system that suits a single player?
    Even if it was ever thought of as remotely feasible ,Mitrovich would simply not be able to deliver on a consistent basis .
    The fact he seems never more than one blood rush away from a straight red doesn’t help .
    To me he is at the moment more impact sub if we are chasing a game and can go 442 .
    I would him to prove me wrong and bang in 20 ( had him as my top scorer in martoons comp) next season however .
    But first I think he has work to do to get Rafa to trust him.


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