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Rafa Benitez tells Mike Ashley “The Academy is the future of the club”

6 months ago
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Rafa Benitez has got Newcastle United into a relatively comfortable position in this Premier League run-in.

Four wins and a draw in the past seven games has seen the Magpies rise to 31 points, currently six clear of the drop zone and with a massive 22 goal difference advantage also, on Cardiff who are third bottom.

Newcastle needing four wins and a draw from the remaining  nine games to match last season’s 44 points, whilst a couple of victories should be enough to ensure at least one more season of Premier League football.

However, Rafa Benitez has been looking beyond that.

The Newcastle boss has already made clear that for any contract extension to be signed, he wants investment to improve not only the first team squad, but also the long promised state of the art training complex that was promised in 2013 by Mike Ashley, as well as backing to get the Academy in the right shape to help provide the stars of tomorrow.

Rafa Benitez making clear to everyone and especially to Mike Ashley when he declares: ‘I think it’s crucial for everyone to understand that the Academy is the future of the club.”

The Newcastle manager going on to spell out why: ‘The prices in the market are now crazy and you’ll need players coming through the system if you want to keep balancing the books. So you will have the passion but at the same time you won’t need to spend £50m on a player.’

Sean Longstaff has of course been a revelation the past couple of months but the widespread feeling is that the odd one that does make it through, it is despite the current running of the Academy side and not because of it.

Interesting as well that Rafa Benitez is also keen to say that you can’t just rely on this one approach [kids coming through] and that indeed to have a decent chance of your own youth prospects making it, you also have to be spending realistic money on first team signings at the same time, as only through healthy competition inside the club, will you potentially get the right results.

As always, the chances of Rafa staying at St James Park revolve around either Mike Ashley selling the club, or failing that, that Ashley accepts he has to allow realistic investment across the club AND let the experts [Rafa Benitez] decide how it best can be done.

Rafa Benitez speaking to Premier League World:

“I think it’s crucial for everyone to understand that the Academy is the future of the club.

“The prices in the market are now crazy and you’ll need players coming through the system if you want to keep balancing the books.

“So you will have the passion but at the same time you won’t need to spend £50m on a player.

“You already have the player there.

“It is very difficult to just bring local players into the first team, if you don’t also bring someone else to give them more competition.

“It is not just because you are here that you deserve to be in the first team…you have to [also] be good enough.

“To create this competition at youth level is really important.

“In England, the very young lads don’t have the competition.

“You have to compete…it is not just about coming into the Premier League after two or three years [in the younger age group] and then you realise what competition is.

“For me [at the moment] now, it is about concentrating on what the first team needs to do.

“The scouting team is doing what they need to do [in terms of scouting players] but I am concentrating on the first team.

“The main thing is now I don’t want to waste too much energy talking about it because we need the points.”

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