One-time Sunderland star Don Goodman, says that he has been both surprised and impressed with Rafa Benitez at Newcastle United.

The now Sky Sports pundit says he was firstly surprised that Rafa agreed to stay on at Newcastle after relegation in May.

Then secondly, has been impressed at how the United boss has approached the job of getting the club straight back to the Premier League.

Don Goodman thinks that Mike Ashley will have had to give Rafa ‘incredible’ assurances to stay. That being obvious as Benitez has only stayed on condition that he would be running the football side of the club and have control of transfers, unlike yes men such as McClaren and Pardew who were so desperate that they took the money/position under any terms.

Goodman says that the ‘obvious proof’ of Rafa Benitez knowing what he is doing, is the signings that he made in the summer for this Championship campaign.

After relegation, it was quite ridiculous the number of people who doubted Rafa could hack it in the English second tier because he was so used to being in La Liga, Serie A and the Premier League with clubs such as Real Madrid and Inter Milan.

This ignored the fact that in his early years Rafa managed successfully in the Spanish second tier and surely having somebody with great experience and a record of success can only help at a lower level. The time to really worry is when you have people who are totally out of their depth with the situation, such as when John Carver was given the job.

Don Goodman talking to Sky Sports:

“I was surprised that Rafa Benitez elected to stay (at Newcastle).

“He must have had an incredible amount of assurances from the owner.

“But once he did, I was really impressed with the fact that Rafa Benitez took on board what the Championship is.

“The obvious proof of that is the signings that he has made.”