Recently retired defender Jose Enrique has revealed the incredible reason he turned down a chance to re-join Newcastle United two years ago in a compelling and brutally honest interview with The Chronicle, claiming he knew he would be ‘sh*t’ due to doubts over his physical condition at the time.
Enrique – once known as ‘The Bull’ – made 127 appearances on Tyneside between 2007 and 2011 and had undergone a potentially career saving operation in his homeland this summer, but called time on his career at the age of 31 after years reoccurring knee problems.
Today the Spaniard has took part in a revealing interview with The Chronicle, explaining why he turned down Steve McClaren’s offer to return to the club just two years ago:
“I had a chance to come back before Rafa (Benitez). Steve McClaren was the manager and he wanted me back and there was an offer from Newcastle. It was the January of 2015 and there was a contract for me of two to three years – it would have been a good contract and a chance to return to the city I loved but I decided not to do it,” he said.
“To be honest I wasn’t sure about myself and my injuries. I was struggling physically and – to be honest – I knew I would be sh*t for them. I could have taken the money and sat on the bench or in the stands but it was Newcastle and I felt I couldn’t do that.
“When I was there the first time I played good football and I knew if I went back, I wasn’t the same player. It would have ruined what happened for me the first time. I didn’t want people to look back and think ‘Maybe he was sh*t after all’.
“It was a good contract. I only had six months left at Liverpool so it made sense to take it but I wanted to end on a high. I couldn’t go back and not give it my all.”
This is unlike anything I’ve ever heard of before and is quite a commendable display of honesty from Enrique.
So many would take the pay packet, irrespective of their form or condition, and be happy to sit on the bench if they weren’t up to it, but this shows just how much he valued the legacy he left at Newcastle.