Rolando Aarons has said he is really looking forward to a fresh start under Rafa Benitez, after a nightmare season under Steve McClaren.

The winger was disappointed to get only three Premier League starts last season but that was nothing compared to his bemusement, when the clueless McClaren played Aarons out of position at left-back in two of the games and wing-back in the other.

Steve McClaren’s final away match before his sacking being the shambles at Stamford Bridge, with Chelsea hammering Newcastle 5-1 and the terrible tactics leaving Aarons totally exposed at left-back.

Describing life under McClaren as frustrating (I could add a few more words…), Rolando Aarons was just so grateful that he had a chance to impress Rafa in the final game of the season.

Coming on with Newcastle leading 3-1 against Spurs but down to 10 men, Rolando Aarons scored an excellent goal of his own and then made the fifth one for Daryl Janmaat.

With only five players getting more minutes on the pitch in the four friendlies so far, Aarons looks likely to start on Friday at Craven Cottage, though today’s team selection v Vitesse Arnhem could confirm/give us more idea of the likely first eleven for when the Championship kicks off.

Rolando Aarons talking to NUFC TV:

“It has felt such a short pre-season, it’s gone through quite fast. It’s been hard but decent as well.”

‘Your last game at St James Park was the 5-1 v Tottenham?’

“It was obviously a good way to go out despite the disappointment of being relegated. We ended on a high and we are looking to start the campaign the way we ended the last one.

“It was a frustrating season for me obviously. Not having many games and playing in a different position – but it was nice to play in my position at the end (v Spurs) and grab a goal, so the Manager knows what I can do and hopefully get a chance this season to play more games in my position and impact on games.

“I have had a decent pre-season again and this year I’m just looking to take it into the season. Get a run of games and show what you can do.”

‘Do you see this as a big season for yourself?’

“This is obviously a big year with more games, so he (Rafa Benitez) is going to have to use more players and that means more opportunities for not just me – but Jamie Sterry, Adam Armstrong and a lot of other players who don’t get a chance when we only have one game every week.”