Rafa Benitez was the best manager Jermaine Pennant ever played for.

Jermaine Pennant has a new book out.

Jermaine Pennant has now slagged Rafa Benitez off and just maybe there is a connection…

Yes, Rafa must be really bothered getting stick off this loser (which obviously I mean sarcastically, just in case anybody is in any doubt).

Jermaine Pennant’s last three clubs have been Tampines Rovers, Bury and Billericay Town, you would almost think he was desperate to get publicity for his book…

Now aged 35, Pennant is set to go on ‘celebrity’ big brother (enough said) and is trying to get a few books sold first.

Rafa Benitez signed the very average winger for £7m back in 2006 and in that first season at Liverpool, Jermaine Pennant found himself playing in a Champions League final.

Despite this, in the hope of selling a few copies of his book, the player has seen fit to slag off his former manager’s training techniques.

In the book he says about training at Liverpool: ‘Honestly, Rafa was a nightmare like that. As a player, you just want a bit of fun, to make training good and lively.’

Hmmm, with his quotes (see below) and general conduct (often in trouble and didn’t make more than 47 league starts for any of the clubs he appeared for), Jermaine Pennant doesn’t strike you as the brightest.

Just maybe there was some connection between Rafa’s training sessions and a not that brilliant Liverpool set of players finding themselves in a Champions League final, only two years after he had done the same with an even weaker squad.

Pennant played the full 90 minutes when Liverpool lost narrowly to AC Milan in 2007 and you just know for a fact that this loser will believe it was his individual brilliance that was the main reason Liverpool reached that 2007 Champions League final, rather than anything to do with his ‘boring’ manager.

Jermaine Pennant writing in his book, Mental: Bad Behaviour, Ugly Truths and the Beautiful Game:

“When you have so many instructions, it makes it so difficult.

“You’ve got some instructions and tactics in your mind and yet he’s shouting even more at you.

“All of a sudden you’re confused.

“You’ve got two sets of instructions in your mind and you’re left wondering what to do.

“It means that, suddenly, you mess up with a simple pass because your mind is all over the place.

“Honestly, Rafa was a nightmare like that.

“As a player, you just want a bit of fun, to make training good and lively.

“But, with Rafa, the training was so boring… The amount of time in training that we’d do shape, tactics and nothing else!”



  • mentalman

    Yedlin has said pretty much exactly the same about rafas training sessions, is he a loser to?

    • SuperDesHamilton

      Aye. He needs all the defensive training available

      • mentalman

        He’d make a cracking winger if he knew how to get the ball into the box

        • SuperDesHamilton

          Like Milner when he was here, couldn’t beat the first man to save his life from a cross

        • FatParosite

          So would Milner.

  • Stephen Phillips

    Now, come one. We all like Rafa, but he’s not a religion. People are entitled to say they found his training routine boring without being subject to a character assassination.

    • FatParosite

      I’m not defending Rafa without reason I’m assassinating a character who’s own judgement is criminally flawed to the point where he risked others lives for his own convenience.

  • FatParosite

    Cockroaches really come out when fatso splashes the cash. This time Jailbird Jermaine WUI. Writing while under the influence.

  • Billmag

    They are there to do a job, remind me how long do they train in a day and how much money are they on, today’s footballer’s are pampered far too much. I’m with Rafa on this one and as for Pennant he isn’t exactly a name that slips off the tongue if he sells 100 copies he’s done well.

    • SuperDesHamilton

      It’ll be because continental coaches aren’t as hands on as British managers & wont lick up to players like pennant wa ted

  • ghostrider

    The only people who can tell a real story are those who’ve lived in it.
    Whether they are fully factual in telling that story, is another thing.

    However, I saw enough last season to suggest players looked unhappy about they way they were playing and I honestly believe Merino left because of it. I could be entirely wrong but this is what I took from it.

    I saw Ritchie and quite a few other players get dropped because their game went downhill due to Rafa’s chase them (opposition) down mentality.

    The kenedy loan changed Rafa’s mentality.
    To hazard a guess I’d say that Chelsea and/or Kenedy had a stipulation that he will be allowed to express himself.

    It certainly changed the entire set up and even rejuvenated Ritchie and Shelvey/Diame and the rest.

    • Ram Kishore

      Just like u speculating and guessing.. maybe Kennedy’s and Dubravkas arrival may have upped the game last season.. for the first half of last season apart from Ritchie, all other wingers weren’t consistent, even Ritchie wasn’t and Ayoze wasn’t playing at his best.. CBs were in and out, Dummet wasn’t available..So u can say not much stability at the defence..
      Shelvey was red carded twice ..
      He is a defensive organiser but maybe due to many of these he had to go and play the bad football at times.. Diame coming through at the end of December with a goal against Hammer was a changer too until then he was very inconsistent.
      We will never know why merino left ..Maybe he wanted to be first choice not down to tactics because u just said that tactics of the team had changed inthe second half..A contradiction

      • ghostrider

        And that’s your opinion other than mine.
        Fair enough.
        I don’t profess to be full on factual.
        If I mention fact then I’ll have to back it up.
        But like I said earlier…we’re all basically speculating in the main, until someone comes up with a solid fact.

        • Ram Kishore

          We speculate ik.. But all i am saying u said it yourself that Rafa can play balanced football with right setup if
          Everying comes along..

          • ghostrider

            I said I’d like him to play a more balanced set up consistently rather than the earlier defensive set up of last season.

            I said that kenedy appeared to force a change in tactics from Rafa to actually do what I mentioned.

            In my opinion Kenedy’s seeming freedom to use his ability gained us a much better set up offensive and the change up in mindset of certain players that basically looked dejected and lost form because of it.

            Overall I believe that saved Rafa’s bacon in terms of relegation because I’m fairly convinced we would have went down if it wasn’t for the intervention of the two loans hitting the ground running.

          • Albert Luque

            “Force a change in tactics from Rafa?” Take a guess on who brought him to Newcastle.

          • ghostrider

            Charnley?

          • Albert Luque

            Well that sums up your knowledge of how it works.

          • ghostrider

            Thanks.

    • Albert Luque

      Wow! Perhaps you can elaborate on how one can write an “Expression” clause in a contract? let him run 20 sprints to the opposition per game? or perhaps Rafa personally oversees 3 sessions a week wherein Kenedy is allowed canvas and oil paints to let out all that he holds inside.

      • ghostrider

        I can’t help you if you can’t grasp it.
        Ask someone what it means.

        • Albert Luque

          Lol. Don’t you think that’s what I did?

          • ghostrider

            And you still can’t grasp it?
            Never mind, you tried I suppose.

          • Albert Luque

            Well i asked you a question and you said ask someone. Low self-esteem is bad for you my friend. Get help.

          • ghostrider

            I don’t need help for your admittance of having low self esteem.

          • Albert Luque

            Lol.

  • East Durham Mag

    Average talent + massive ego. He is entitled to his opinions. I’m sure other people will be in line for some criticism in his revelations. Jog on Mr.Pennant.

  • ghostrider

    I think that’s why Merino couldn’t wait to get away. I think he hated the training being so defensive/negative.

    • Tweed Mag

      What would you like to see the players doing in training? Which players would you like to sign? How much would you like to have to spend in the next transfer window? You seem to have a lot to say about how the team affairs are conducted, so let’s have a master-class from you. Of course that will not happen, you only criticise and contradict. How sad.

      • ghostrider

        No mate. You decide that I criticise and contradict because it fits in with the way you see my stuff.
        The reality is far different, because I equally give out praise when it’s due.

        However, I tend to read body language of players and also take in what players tend to say.
        Merino was complaining a lot before he suddenly went into back spasm mode.
        To me he seemed to have maybe moaned himself out of Rafa’s plans…but I could be wrong.

        As for your other questions about how much would I like to have to spend in the next transfer window…the answer is, nothing. It’s not my money, so whatever does get spent is what it will be and what I’ll have to accept as a fan, regardless.
        Or I could boycott …which I wouldn’t.

        As for the master class.
        All I ask for is for Rafa to play a good balanced team and use players that are capable of effecting a game whilst making a point to entertain into the bargain.
        That’s it.
        From that I can accept whatever happens…good, bad and indifferent.

        • Albert Luque

          And who in your opinion should be in the team to entertain? How about Mike Ashley as number 10?

          • ghostrider

            Anybody can be in the team to entertain. Any footballer, as long as they’re set out do do so.
            It doesn’t have to be any specific Messi or Hazard or whatever.

            There’s enough in our squad to put out a team that entertains.

          • Albert Luque

            Why don’t you suggest whom you would have played instead of the ones that are playing and in what way. If you are having to think hard, that’s why Rafa plays the way he does. Did you watch when Rafa managed Valencia when there was a certain Pablo Aimar was number 10 and players like Ruben Baraja, Vicente, Albelda, Ayala to back him up? Or the Liverpool team with Mascherano, Gerrard, Alonso, Torres, Reina and Sissoko in it? Rafa like any great manager plays based on the players he has.

          • ghostrider

            First of all he could have played Mitrovic instead of Joselu.
            He could have played to Mitrovics’ strengths.

            Just that one change alone would have set up a much more balanced side that pout any team to the test.
            We might have still lost a fair few but we’d have been comfortable and much more entertaining to watch, in my opinion.

            Rafa was bizarre last season on many many occasions.

          • Albert Luque

            Now Mitro is a controversial topic but I would imagine Mitro was not played because of his lack of pace and concentration. I would guess if Kenedy had arrived sooner, Mitro would have got a chance to work on his work ethic and concentration, as the pace factor would have not been an issue. But your guess is as good as mine there. Although you can see that he did bring in Slimani and Kenedy to make up for the lack of pace in the first part of the season. Slimani is way faster than Mitro (watch his clips from his portugal days) but unfortunately was struck by injury. Rondon is much faster too. Only time will tell if he does well but the idea behind the decisions is quite clearly visible: Speed up front is key to be creative in the premier league, and until there is that keep making the best use of the available players.

            That’s what you get with rafa – a clear plan.

          • ghostrider

            Far from a clear plan to be fair.
            If anything I’d say, overall Rafa’s so called clear plan has been baffling and anything but.
            As for Mitro being slow and lacking concentration. Seriously?
            When Joselu is preferred over him.
            Mitro is no racehorse but he”s intelligent football wise and would have caused defences a massive headache.

            But we can argue all day and night over this and not agree.

          • Damon Horner

            Mitrovic is an agree to disagree topic. Let’s see how he does for Fulham which should better benchmark him in PL ability terms.

          • Tony English

            That one change alone would have made a much LESS balanced side.

            Mitro strengths are predominantly as a target man feeding off crosses, causing mayhem in the box with his strength – or receiving the ball with his back to goal and playing short passes back into midfield, the number 10, or wide – agreed?

            Not criticising him, those are his strengths.

            To play to those strengths our side would be stretched:
            1) The wingers have to push further up field
            2) The wingers cover of the fullbacks will be compromised
            3) The overlapping of the fullbacks is reduced as they have too much ground to cover.
            4) The opposition defence can sit deep reducing the effectiveness of Shelvey’s passing over the top.
            5) Our midfielders would have to cover more ground defensively as they’d be further away from the front and backline.
            6) Our Defence have to play a highline to be closer to the midfield, leaving them exposed to balls over the top.
            7) We’d need a number 10 with more pace (as Perez is pedestrian too) who could run beyond Mitro as he held the ball up.

            So apart from compromising the flanks, the offensive midfield, the defensive midfield, the central defence, and the number ten…it would be a much more balanced side?

            The team is set up in tight lines with a centre forward that can stretch play.

          • Damon Horner

            Fair assessment. As ‘Albert Luque’ said as well pace upfront is quite key in this era of football and Mitro doesn’t have it (your suggestion would attribute that to our ’10’). Throw in his suspension record as well and there is potebtial for further issue.

          • Tony English

            Mitro and Perez are both suprisingly slow. Muto may make a big impact, even if he doesn’t score many his pace may really make a difference.

        • Tweed Mag

          So, to summarise your answer, you have no idea how to run a team and you would accept anything at all. Brilliant.

          • ghostrider

            If that’s how you see it then you go ahead with that.

    • SuperDesHamilton

      Haha Benitez fault again.

      • ghostrider

        It can’t be Ashley’s.
        However I’d say it’s the fault of Merino and Rafa.

        • SuperDesHamilton

          No one blamed Fatty

    • Lewis SG

      Rather than thinking that Merino left because he is homesick, lack playing opportunities and Real Sociedad is a bigger club than Newcastle, which are totally logical possibilities, you choose to fantasize about Merino hating Rafa’s training.

      Even if it is boring, Rafa has won trophies. If you don’t like Rafa’s methods maybe you will like Keegan’s methods? Oh wait, Keegan left because of Ashley and Dennis Wise.

      • ghostrider

        No fantasising here. I mentioned it as a possibility.
        I choose to go with that thought until it’s shown otherwise.

        I took his body language into account before he was dropped.

        • Lewis SG

          You are wrong, opinionated and you are stubborn. Your wife and your children would be having a hard time with your character.

          • ghostrider

            I am opinionated and stubborn. Why be anything else?
            However, using my wife and family having a hard time with me is scraping the barrel from you.
            Don’t believe for one minute you can evaluate someone’s life based on typing on a mag board….seriously.

            However, feel free to use anything and everything you feel like using if it gives you the impression that it gains you traction in your argument against me. lol

          • Wezza

            Just block the troll mate, Man Utd supporting loser, trolling us for his sick pleasure.

        • Wor Lass

          You analysed merino`s body language and concluded that he wasn`t enjoying Rafa`s training methods? You get better and better. Ha ha….

          • ghostrider

            Thanks.

        • Tony English

          ..and for the record, I’ll disagree with you all day long if I have an opposing opinion (which is 9.5 times out of 10) but I’ll never call you a troll or go down that brothers from Manchester guff route.

          I’ve known fans like you, and hard as it is to believe, some actually do think Ashley is ok, and Rafa is a wrong’un (mind blown).

          • ghostrider

            That’s as fair as you can be.

      • Jezza

        The troll dislikes Kevin Keegan as much as he dislikes Rafa Benitez. “No defensive discipline” that is his gripe against Keegan’s methods. The reality is that the troll is a Manchester glory seeker who hates NUFC and is obsessed with winding us up. Just block him.

    • Tony English

      “I think…..”
      “I think….”

      No facts there then, opinion is the lowest form of knowledge.

      Any excuse to blame Rafa…nothing to do with the FACT he’s 22 year old and can’t get in the team ahead of Shelvey and Diame.

      • SuperDesHamilton

        Couldn’t get in the BVB team up & left..despite BVB always promoting young players. A sense a pattern with young merino

        Or was it Benitez that didn’t play him at BVB too

      • Ram Kishore

        Sometimes he likes to stretch few things up by few inches
        He dislikes Rafa a lot 😂😂

        • Kneebotherm8

          A very,very,very lot……….his disdain of Benitez shines through like a beacon……………his lurv of Mike,the polar opposite……

      • ghostrider

        Opinion isn’t knowledge at all. It’s speculation from one persons theoretical views…including you.

        So using the words “I think” or ” I wonder” or ” what if” or “maybe” or ” do you think?” or a whole host of speculative stuff, it comes down to mere opinionated speech, not factual knowledge.

        And unless any person has absolute truth that is irrefutable then everyone is playing best guessing games….even the pundits and ex-players, plus media abound.

        In a nutshell, I’ll speculate like you. And by all means disagree with me but unless you disagree with facts then all you’re doing is placing your own speculation forward to counteract mine….or vice versa.
        That’s your right, as it is my right to question and speculate my own possibilities with any other piece.

        • Tony English

          There is a difference between presenting an opinion based on observed behaviour and performance, publicised quotes and figures…and your imagined reaction to an imagined situation that you have zero basis for.

          A 22 year old player wants to play, that is a reasonable presumption. Beyond that it’s speculation.

          • ghostrider

            My point stands.

          • Tony English

            Viagra?

          • ghostrider

            Luckily it’s not needed.

          • Tony English

            Give me a shout when you point stops standing.

          • cmrowley

            Quite correct, opinion is useful if it’s informed. People shouting off it’s my opinion and it’s as valid as yours is a problem in society at the minute, in the past people seemed to be reluctant to open their mouths and demonstrate they are fools but not any more. It seems the louder you shout nonsense the more intellectual people consider themselves. The Dunning Kruger effect, there are a good number of examples on this site.

            “when two opposite points of view are expressed with equal intensity, the truth does not necessarily lie exactly halfway between them. It is possible for one side to be simply wrong”

            Richard Dawkins.

          • Tony English

            Exactly.

            I have this argument with my Dad all the time (I think ghostrider might be my Dad) his default setting…”well that’s my opinion, I’m allowed my own opinion”, everyone is, but based on what? Your imagination?

            You’re allowed your own opinion, you’re not allowed your own facts.

        • Angelswithdirtyfaces

          There is a difference between an opinion and an opinion that masquerades as a fact.

          I think that Ghostrider is a trolling idiot is an opinion.

          You thinking Merino didn’t like the training is an opinion pretending to be a fact.

          • ghostrider

            Just my opinion. If you bse it on a fact then that’s your issue.
            As for your opinion on me being a trolling idiot, you’re absolutely welcome to it and anything else you feel might strengthen your weakness.

    • Albert Luque

      I think so too. I also think Harry Kane had something to do with it.

  • mentalman

    It’ll be interesting to see the comments on here next year, once rafa has left and the current crop of players start complaining about his man management and training

  • Paul Patterson

    Brain capacity and multi tasking is not known to be a footballers forte ..

    • Kneebotherm8

      Yeah but Tennant takes that to another level…….

      • Kneebotherm8

        Sorry I meant Pennant………easy mistake……totally forgettable individual..

  • SuperDesHamilton

    ‘Narrowly lost’ to AC Milan, they were played off the park 😂

  • NG

    you can’t play exciting attacking football if you haven’t got the players to do it. Kennedy gave him the ability to change that and be more expansive.

  • Lord

    Based on the criteria of training sessions being ‘a bit of fun’ and ‘not focusing on shape and tactics all the time’, would that make John Carver a better manager in his eyes?

  • Tony English

    Jermaine Pennant showed time and time again that whilst he had ability, he lacked the discipline and mental capacity to be a professional team player, managers found him out and jettisoned him.

    Fifteen clubs in a 19 year career….says it all.

    • Ram Kishore

      Wow …That’s close to Anelka’s ig

      • Tony English

        The difference with Anelka is most managers wanted to keep him, just he and his agent brother had a liking for signing on fees.

      • Albert Luque

        Except that Anelka had the world-class talent and professionalism (when he played for a team he gave his all) to back it up, both of which Pennant didn’t have.

    • Kneebotherm8

      A journeyman……

  • Ram Kishore

    I love Rafa but he’s a human and no saint. Stop portraying Rafa as a saint man and he does make mistakes.

    So if anyone has a view that is bit negative or critical about Rafa, even if it is not about Ashley and Nufc , that person is a loser?

    Pennat has his views ,i dont care about his character or discipline here..He has just given his view on Rafa’s training that’s it.

    • Billmag

      Pennant is a know nowt that couldn’t tie Rafa’s shoelaces I take your point that Rafa is no saint even the great Fergy made mistake’s (Obetan) if it had been a top class footballer having his say on Rafa’s training methods then fair enough, but Pennant do me a favour.

      • Kneebotherm8

        Pennant…..not so much a has been….. as a never waser

      • Ram Kishore

        Yeah haha..
        But his criticisms arent that harsh ig.. just normal IMO.. but the author makes it look like pennant has done something criminal..Lol
        Only that thing by Jackie made me post a comment 😂
        Man writers like Jackie just overstate things sometimes lol

        • Jezza

          Pennant has done something criminal. He has got convictions for drink-driving, driving while disqualified, and driving without insurance.

          • Peaky

            There was a recent article I read where Pennant and his missus apparently/allegedly ‘perform’ live on ‘adult’ websites…..horrible little individual.

          • Ram Kishore

            I didn’t know much about him. Just thought he was a normal player who didn’t have a good time under Rafa at liverpool.
            Haha.. Seems like he wanted to make his book more interesting by writing share things

        • Albert Luque

          Liverpool fan here and a staunch Rafa supporter for everything he has done for the club and the city. For every Pennant you have a Fernando Torres, Luis Garcia, Pepe Reina, Javier Mascherano who have said time and again about being benefited by Rafa. Stevie G and Carra have have said many times he was the best manager (if not the friendliest ). Pennant was brought from Birmingham add pace to run down the wings and deliver crosses to Crouch who was specifically brought to knock them in. Thanks to all the shouting Pennant sometimes did his job and even knocked on England’s doors back then. An year or two later Pennant was kicked out of the lowly Zaragoza team for lack of discipline, arguably as he gave up listening to instructions in order to “do his own thing”.

          • Jezza

            Interesting that the players praising Rafa are the ones who achieved great things in the game while it’s the ones like Pennant who’s careers nose dived very rapidly that are the ones criticising him.

    • Squintytoonarmy

      Pleb

      • Ram Kishore

        I had to search what a pleb meant because I am not from Britain and that’s not a term I’d heard in my home
        Whom did u refer to?
        If it’s me, its chill.
        I think u can be better than this pal. Newcastle fans/football fans can be better than this.
        😀

      • Ram Kishore

        I had to search what a pleb means pal..I am not from Britain.
        But if the reference is pointed towards me , it’s chill lol
        I think u can be better than this pal, football fans are better than this imo
        Cheers

  • SH.ER

    Hmmm what’s wrong with his comments? not all players have the same personalities, Real Madrid players didn’t enjoy Benitez training methods too
    You need to be open minded about this … everyone make mistakes including Benitez

    • Billmag

      Fernandez seems to think his methods are ok as he’s joined up with him again.

      • Kneebotherm8

        His achievements in the game of football seem to back up his management/training methods…….at the end of the day that’s all that matters…….one or two dissenters comments will only fall on deaf ears……….

    • Wor Lass

      That`s true but don`t you think that Penant admitting that he couldn`t handle more than one idea at a time gives us a clue as to why he is, in fact, a loser and Rafa isn`t?

      • theoriginalbomberman

        Still has a more successful playing career than Rafa.
        This website is honestly like a cult for the man you can’t critique him whatsoever.

        • Wor Lass

          As digs go, Penant`s comments are pretty mild but the writers have to stir things up to get their clicks, I suppose. My criticism of Penant is more to do with him wasting a fantastic talent by being thick. His admission that he got confused by having too many instructions maybe illustrates what the problem was. Modern day football is so tactical that players can`t just go out and do their thing any more

  • Paul Patterson

    Training should be fun, but it also has to get results. Rafa has proven that it does. Tactics are very important to the way he works and they probably appear a bit boring to some.
    However, some players need to keep their traps shut and admit they played for a World Class manager who won things. Sadly, sticking the boot in seems fashionable these days . .

  • Wor Lass

    I bet he isn`t as boring as Howard Wilkinson!

    • Kneebotherm8

      Did he ever crack a smile at any time?

      • Wor Lass

        maybe on pay day.

        • Kneebotherm8

          Maybe if he had a problem with wind…..

  • WrongToon

    “You’ve got two sets of instructions in your mind and you’re left wondering what to do.”

    Poor lad. He must struggle to drive, having to remember to accelerate and brake AND steer at the same time. I imagine eating is a challenge too, remembering what the jobs of the knife and the fork are. I bet he’s one of those people that pays the extra money to have someone put up IKEA shelves, as the instructions aren’t “fun” or “lively” enough, and he’d just end up putting holes in the wall with a hammer.

  • Angelswithdirtyfaces

    Perhaps he has trouble walking and chewing gum at the same time, like Dubya

  • Big Al 1967

    The same thick Jermaine Pennant who actually lost a car because the numpty forgot where he parked it!
    Move on

  • Rafalution 14

    Lol, this comes from a winger whose only claim to fame was the season he played under Rafa. All went downhill after that.