Benitez offered ‘surprise’ return to English football – but said no as club opt for ex-Mag instead

Rafa Benitez was a ‘surprise’ candidate to take over the hot seat at Bournemouth, according to The Mail Online.

In the end, former Toon defender Jonathan Woodgate landed the job until the end of the season to replace Jason Tindall, who was sacked last month.

However, it has now emerged that Benitez had emerged as a shock outsider to manage in the Championship for the second time in his career – only for him to reject a return to English football with The Cherries.

The Mail claim that his track record of winning promotion at the first time of asking at Newcastle was the key factor that made him a contender for the role.

This comes after he recently left his role with Dalian Pro, swapping China for a return to family life in The Wirral.

As for Woodgate, he’s had a mixed start to life as Cherries boss, but did pick up a huge victory against Watford over the weekend, with a 1-0 win keeping them right in the play-off mix.

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