Ex-Liverpool flop launches pathetic rant at Rafa Benitez – “Honestly, Rafa was a nightmare..”

According to former Liverpool flop Jermaine Pennant, Rafa Benitez’s ‘boring’ training sessions and obsession with shape and tactics held him back from reaching his potential – with him claiming that the Spaniard was a ‘nightmare’ to play under.

This comes from the 35-year old’s latest book “Mental: Bad Behaviour, Ugly Truths and the Beautiful Game”, with him being anything but complimentary when discussing Benitez’s style of management.

He signed at Anfield for £8m way back in the summer of 2006, going onto score just three goals in 81 games for the Reds – although it was all Rafa’s fault by the sounds of it.

As revealed by The Mirror, here’s what he’s had to say about Rafa – criticising his approach both on the pitch and in training:

“On the pitch, often I can see what’s best. Ultimately you have to trust the players once they cross the white line. But with Rafa, it was constant directions.

“Just sometimes, he might as well have turned a player into an Xbox, dressed me up like RoboCop and put a picture of my face on it. I’m not a defensive midfielder. I’m not James Milner, who keeps it simple. I’m a flair player and do my own thing. But his constant instructions really restricted me. They stopped me from being free. He could never let me do my thing.

“When you have so many instructions, it makes it so difficult. You’ve got some instructions and tactics in your mind and yet he’s shouting even more at you. All of a sudden you’re confused. You’ve got two sets of instructions in your mind and you’re left wondering what to do. It means that, suddenly, you mess up with a simple pass because your mind is all over the place.

“Honestly, Rafa was a nightmare like that.”

Ok, maybe Rafa’s approach wasn’t for Jermaine, but to suggest he held him back is weak on his part and a pathetic excuse for his personal shortcomings at Liverpool.

Perhaps he needed to spend more time listening and knuckling down. As we know with Rafa, a player will soon fail in his system if he puts his needs ahead of that of the teams.

Pennant then spoke about his frustrations on the training pitch when playing under Benitez, claiming his methods were ‘so boring’, with him insisting to focus on ‘shape and tactics’ – also suggesting his man management skills were non existent and left to others:

“There were times when I would get so angry about how boring and repetitive training was that I would just lose it and shout, ‘For f*** sake – just give us a bit of a five-a-side!’

“As a player, you just want a bit of fun, to make training good and lively. But, with Rafa, the training was so boring that you’d come in and all you’d want to do was slit your wrists! The amount of time in training that we’d do shape, tactics and nothing else!”

“With Rafa, it is all about himself. It was either his way or no way. The man management was down to his staff. That was why, when Pako Ayestarán (his assistant) went, they had a parting of the ways and things started to go downhill a bit.”

Pretty poor and petty from Pennant, this.

Yes he may have found it difficult, and I don’t doubt that some players will struggle with Rafa’s meticulous and obsessional approach to tactics and shape, but if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.

There’s a reason Rafa is a world renowned, Champions League winning manager and Jermaine Pennant is a forgotten prima donna who failed to make any real impact at any of the 15 clubs he played for over his 20-year career in the game.

(Fancy writing for us? Send any articles/ideas over to us at NUFCblogsubmissions@gmail.com & we’ll get back to you!)

About Olly Hawkins

Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

One thought on “Ex-Liverpool flop launches pathetic rant at Rafa Benitez – “Honestly, Rafa was a nightmare..”

  1. According to Wiki (ok, I accept this is not the best source on the planet but Jermaine is being ‘generous’ with the truth too!):

    Jermaine Lloyd Pennant (born 15 January 1983) is an English footballer who last played as a winger for Billericay Town. Pennant has made over 300 appearances for 15 clubs, and has scored 24 goals to date.

    Born in Nottingham, Pennant played for his local side Notts County as a youngster. He earned promising reviews in the youth team at County and Arsenal signed him in 1999. He struggled to make much of an impact at the North London club and spent time on loan at Watford, Leeds United and Birmingham City before joining the latter permanently. While an Arsenal player, he won 24 caps for the England under-21 team. He gained notoriety in 2005, when he had to play a match while on probation – he played while wearing an electronic tag following a drink-driving conviction. Following Birmingham’s relegation in 2006, Pennant signed for Liverpool for a fee of £6.7 million. He won the 2006 FA Community Shield and also played a vital role in the club’s run to the 2007 UEFA Champions League final, where Liverpool lost 2–1 to Milan.

    However, off-field problems continued to affect Pennant and consequently led to him being left out of the side. He joined Portsmouth on loan before leaving to join Spanish side Real Zaragoza in 2009. His time in Spain was overshadowed by disciplinary problems. He returned to the Premier League for the 2010–11 season signing on loan at Midlands club Stoke City. Following a successful loan spell, he signed a permanent contract at Stoke in December 2010. He played in the 2010 FA Cup final, Stoke losing 1–0 to Manchester City, and also played in the UEFA Europa League the following season. Pennant fell out of favour with Tony Pulis in 2012–13 and spent time out on loan at Wolverhampton Wanderers. With his Stoke career looking to be coming to an end, new manager Mark Hughes gave Pennant a new contract. However, after failing to make an impact, he left Stoke in January 2014. He then spent time playing in India with Pune City before returning to England to sign a short-term contract with Wigan Athletic. In January 2016, he signed a one-year deal with Singapore S.League club Tampines Rovers.

    Hardly therefore a role model for future generations, he’s failed to deliver to his ‘potential’ wherever he’s gone and somehow we’re supposed to take his side vs a certain proven world class manager, draw your own conclusions….


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