Rafa Benitez talks after weekend “One ‘Longstaff’ every year for ten years seems good business to me”

Rafa Benitez has been talking about Newcastle United’s victory over Manchester United.

The former NUFC boss praising Steve Bruce for giving Matty Longstaff his Premier League debut.

Rafa Benitez declaring: ‘I was really pleased to see Matty Longstaff scoring the winning goal for Newcastle; he was great when he was training with us and it was a good decision from Steve Bruce to make him play.’



Rafa also commented on three products of the Newcastle United Academy being on the pitch at the same time in Sunday’s win: ‘I was also happy to see a few Geordies playing together at the same time; Carroll, Sean and Matty; surely it shouldn’t be difficult to see the benefits of investing in the Academy?’

When it comes to the Academy, this was one of the main sticking points for Rafa Benitez when wanting to stay at Newcastle United and push the whole club forward.

The then NUFC manager refusing to sign an extension unless he was assured that there would be proper investment in facilities (such as the essential state of the art training ground that was promised by Mike Ashley in 2013), as well as realistic investment from the Academy up to first team level.

To reinforce that point of investing in the Academy upwards, Rafa Benitez says: ‘£4m every year for 10 years means £40 m (one player); one ‘Longstaff’ every year for ten years seems good business to me.’

The former manager pointing to the fact that proper investment in the Academy (£4m per year) and facilities could see a first team player coming through each season on average, comparing this to spending £40m on a single player from outside (Joelinton?).

It is really worth reading the whole of Rafa’s blog as he talks mainly about the challenges he faces in China and how he is approaching them.

Very embarrassing to be honest when he talks about the scale of the ambition in China at Dalian Yifang compared to Mike Ashley’s  refusal to show any ambition to grow Newcastle United, especially investment in infrastructure and having experts (in football) allowed to make the decisions.

The massive near £200m training complex will open soon and Rafa Benitez has been talking as well about the freedom he has been given to bring in the essential off the pitch expertise to grow the club from top to bottom: ‘As a part of this project, we have brought 10 Spanish coaches for working with the schoolboys, from 6 to 10 years old. We have also brought coordinators to train the Chinese coaches to ensure that everybody follows the same idea, the exercises, the way to play.’

Rafa Benitez had a real vision, like the fans, of what Newcastle United could potentially be.

Instead we are for the foreseeable still trapped in this Mike Ashley hand to mouth existence.



Rafa Benitez writing on his own personal blog:

“We don’t need to talk about systems or style of football, but it can be seen that Manchester City and Manchester United had the possession in their respective games while Wolves and Newcastle United were the ones who went away with the points.

“So, that opens a debate on how important possession is, or whether it is more beneficial to have a good game plan and counterattack to maximise what you have at your disposal.

“I was really pleased to see Matty Longstaff scoring the winning goal for Newcastle; he was great when he was training with us and it was a good decision from Steve Bruce to make him play.

“I was also happy to see a few Geordies playing together at the same time; Carroll, Sean and Matty; surely it shouldn’t be difficult to see the benefits of investing in the Academy?

“£4m every year for 10 years means £40 m (one player); one ‘Longstaff’ every year for ten years seems good business to me.

“As a part of this project, we have brought 10 Spanish coaches for working with the schoolboys, from 6 to 10 years old.

“We have also brought coordinators to train the Chinese coaches to ensure that everybody follows the same idea, the exercises, the way to play (we aren’t talking about the system, the systems can change depending on players, it is just the idea of keeping and passing the ball being sure the kids are comfortable on the ball).

“Later on, if they play on another level they will have to adapt to different systems and tactics to win games, now it is more about developing the technique and the understanding of the game. The coordinators will work in the Academy, with the U-17s who will work close to the U-19s and Reserve Team.

“The new training ground is progressing and once it is done everybody will be together in the same facility, so the communication will be easier than it is at the moment when we are a little bit further from each other.”




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