Rafa Benitez has gave his verdict on the recent events at Newcastle United – discussing our win over Manchester United, man of the moment Matty Longstaff and questioning Mike Ashley’s lack of investment at Academy level.
Posting on his personal blog from China, Rafa stated how ‘really pleased’ he was at the Magpies 1-0 on the weekend, taking extra satisfaction in youngster Matty Longstaff scoring the goal – a player who he has revealed was ‘great’ in training during his time on Tyneside.
To begin with, here’s what he had to say about Longstaff junior:
“I was really pleased to see Matty Longstaff scoring the winning goal for Newcastle; he was great when he was training with us and it was a good decision from Steve Bruce to make him play.”
These comments reassure Newcastle fans that Matty’s performance against Man United was not just a flash in the pan, with a manager of Rafa’s experience giving praise to the youngster holding a lot of weight in the footballing world.
He also speaks of his happiness at the number of Geordie’s currently in the Newcastle team, with 3 featuring against the Red Devils and Dummett sitting on the bench, however his next move was to issue a thinly-veiled attack towards owner Mike Ashley – and the point he makes is hard to argue against.
The Spaniard feels that, if money was consistently spent on the Academy, even more Longstaff’s could emerge, with his comments hinting towards Mike Ashley’s lack of investment at youth level during his time on Tyneside:
“I was also happy to see a few Geordies playing together at the same time; Carroll, Sean and Matty; surely it shouldn’t be difficult to see the benefits of investing in the Academy?
“£4m every year for 10 years means £40 m (one player); one ‘Longstaff’ every year for ten years seems good business to me.”
His comments here seem to point towards one of the reasons he didn’t sign a new deal over the summer, with it always said that Rafa was keen for the club to commit to an Academy overhaul – and you can see why. His point is simple yet so true and this is not doubt something he pitched to Mike Ashley during his time at St James’ Park.
It’s nice to see our ex-boss is still keeping close tabs on the situation at NUFC – even if it is still difficult to hear him talk about a club he should still have been in charge of.
He clearly still holds the love of Newcastle supporters close to his heart, but there is still a bitterness which surrounds his exit from the club this summer.
Maybe I am being optimistic (or deluded?), but this constant communication from Rafa to the Newcastle fans makes me believe that if a new owner did come in, Rafa would be willing to return in a heartbeat.