Since Rafa has arrived at Newcastle one of the surprises we have had is how warm a character he is.
We had heard all the reports from players like Steven Gerrard that he never told the Liverpool captain he had ever played well – even after he had a stormer.
But at Newcastle, he seems a warm upbeat personality comfortable in his own skin.
And from the 20 months he’s been at Newcastle the surprise to us has been how warm a man he is.
And how often have you seen him put an arm around a Newcastle player?
The correct answer is – a lot.
Rafa Benitez embraces Andros Townsend – – good game son
So it’ s a bit of a surprise that BT Sport pundit Owen has told Yahoo Sport that Rafa is still cold to his players:
“Benitez’s a master at setting at team up that will be tough to break down, and Mourinho has shown time and again down the years that he knows how to take a sting out of a game as well.”
“But you also hear a lot of stories that suggest the two men are also quite cold towards their players when they want to be.”
“I didn’t work with Benitez for long before I left Liverpool to join Real Madrid in the summer of 2004.”
“But speaking to friends like Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher, they would say that Rafa’s not the warmest of characters around his players.”
“Benitez gets the best out of teams, and he’s done well at Newcastle, but he doesn’t appear to be a manager who puts his arm around players and give them that kind of emotional support when they night need it.”
Michael Owen is simply reiterating things about Rafa that were published when he managed at Liverpool for six years and that ended a full seven years ago.
We all seem to mature as we get older and can change our ways and that’s what we think has happened to Rafa.
Maybe he has become a much better man manager since he left Liverpool but he still has that laser-like determination and ambition to succeed.
That will never change with Rafa Benitez as he tries to turn Newcastle United into a top team in Europe.
What do you think?