During his latest column for The Athletic, the former Magpies boss has also revealed FIVE Newcastle players he believes could go into coaching after their playing days are over – Martin Dubravka, Matt Ritchie, Jonjo Shelvey, Paul Dummett and Christian Atsu.
Here’s what he’s had to say about both, starting with Gerrard’s attempt to sign Sean Longstaff:
“In the summer of last year, Stevie called me about Sean Longstaff.
“Rangers were interested and he asked whether they could sign him on loan, but I told him “no” — he’d be staying at Newcastle United.
“Some people have said, “Oh, Rafa was lucky because of Longstaff” but we’d been watching him and we were happy with him, we played him in the first-team, supported him and gave him confidence.
“Turning Rangers down is proof of what we thought of Sean.”
Rafa’s right. This would’ve been a great loan move for the lad if he was nowhere near breaking into the first-team set up, but Benitez’s decision to keep him on Tyneside paid dividends in the end.
The Spaniard then touched on the topic of players going into coaching after hanging up their boots, with Martin Dubravka being one of five current Mags to be mentioned by the former NUFC boss:
‘Being able to see and read the game – being able to think quickly – are important qualities for a manager.
‘I’m speculating now, but that’s why I think Martin Dubravka, who was our goalkeeper at St James’ Park, could become a coach. That’s my feeling. He understands the game. People rightly will point out that not too many keepers become managers but I wonder if that’s because in the past they tended to train separately from the rest of the team, so they would have less involvement in terms of the sessions, tactics, positions and things like that.
‘Might others at Newcastle move into coaching? Maybe Paul Dummett. Jonjo Shelvey and Christian Atsu both like talking about football. Matt Ritchie has passion.’
Dubravka always comes across as an intelligent bloke who’s calm under pressure and level headed.
Some may be surprised by Shelvey’s name being mentioned, however he always seems very analytical when discussing his own form in interviews with the club.
Which current NUFC player can you see going into management in years to come?