Rafa Benitez has put out a statement via his own personal website.

Yesterday he made a lot of young Newcastle fans very happy when he presented medals and chatted with the 128 children who had competed in the inaugural Newcastle United Foundation 1892 Cup.

Rafa benitez himself had initiated the idea, as part of an overall initiative by the manager to try and bring the football club and community closer together.

The new Newcastle boss recognising the big disconnect between the two, compared to his experiences when managing Liverpool.

Rafa was accompanied yesterday by Aleksandar Mitrovic, Paul Dummett, Vurnon Anita and Jamaal Lascelles, with the United Manager saying that they all ‘enjoyed the passion that these young athletes showed’.

He also thanked the young Newcastle fans for the ‘support and welcome we have received’.

In preparation for the new season, Rafa Benitez reassured everybody that ‘the first team are training at a very good pace’ and ‘with very good attitude’.

From the outside you can just sense the change in atmosphere from the years that preceded Rafa’s arrival.

At the end of the piece on Rafa’s own website, he had a simple rallying call for everybody connected to Newcastle United…’Come on Toons!’.

Rafa Benitez:

“I spent the afternoon as I did yesterday also with the mini ‘magpies’ at the under-13 tournament organised by the Newcastle United Foundation 1892 with over a hundred children attending.

“We have worked on this idea a few days ago and its now become a reality with great enthusiasm shown by all at the club.

“I have to say that the players of the first team who have accompanied us during the visit and also myself enjoyed the passion that these young athletes showed in the tournament as well as the support and welcome we have received from them. Sincerely, thank you.

“There is a great deal of contact and gestures from the fans every day and I hope that this new tournament has a great future for the fans – young and old alike.

“Meanwhile, the first team are training at a very good pace, with very good attitude and involvement of each and every one of our players.

“Come on Toons!”