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Rafa Benitez names 5 Newcastle United players who could move into coaching and management

2 years ago

Rafa Benitez has been talking about the players he managed at Newcastle United and which ones could potentially move into management and/or coaching.

An interesting  point he makes in general, is that with their changing roles these days, we could see more goalkeepers moving into management/coaching than has happened in the past.

Rafa’s reasoning being that in the past they weren’t so involved in terms of training with the rest of the team but now keepers have to play with their feet now and are expected to be the starting point for passages of play.

Rafa Benitez picks out Martin Dubravka as a potential coach of the future, saying that on top of the general reasons above, the NUFC keeper ‘understands the game’.

As for future managers/coaches, he throws another four Newcastle names into the mix.

Interestingly, the four he names are Christian Atsu, Jonjo Shelvey, Paul Dummett and Matt Ritchie.

Amongst the many other things he talks about in this latest piece, Rafa Benitez also discusses Steven Gerrard.

During that conversation he mentions that Gerrard wanted to sign Sean Longstaff on loan in summer 2018 but he knocked the Rangers boss back.

Rafa insisting that this was ‘proof of what we thought of Sean’, dismissing claims that it was ‘lucky’ that he then gave the young Geordie his chance later last season, when Sean Longstaff excelled.

Rafa Benitez writing for The Athletic:

‘Both of our lives (Rafa and Steven Gerrard) are very busy and it isn’t about giving advice but we have had contact to talk football and to talk about players.

‘In fact, in the summer of last year, Stevie called me about Sean Longstaff. Rangers were interested and he asked whether they could sign him on loan, but I told him “no” — he’d be staying at Newcastle United.

‘Some people have said, “Oh, Rafa was lucky because of Longstaff” but we’d been watching him and we were happy with him, we played him in the first-team, supported him and gave him confidence. Turning Rangers down is proof of what we thought of Sean.’

Goalkeepers as managers?

‘Being able to see and read the game – being able to think quickly – are important qualities for a manager.

‘I’m speculating now, but that’s why I think Martin Dubravka, who was our goalkeeper at St James’ Park, could become a coach. That’s my feeling. He understands the game. People rightly will point out that not too many keepers become managers but I wonder if that’s because in the past they tended to train separately from the rest of the team, so they would have less involvement in terms of the sessions, tactics, positions and things like that.

‘Times have changed. With keepers having to play with their feet more now, they have much more direct involvement. In turn, that will help them learn more about tactics. In theory, they should be good managers because they have a much better position than anyone else to see what’s happening in a game and to analyse it. Usually, they’re intelligent. With Martin, you could see all that. Perhaps, in the future, he will put that to use.

‘Might others at Newcastle move into coaching? Maybe Paul Dummett. Jonjo Shelvey and Christian Atsu both like talking about football. Matt Ritchie has passion.’


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