Alan Shearer hails Newcastle United's Rafa Benitez coup

London: Newcastle great Alan Shearer said the Magpies had pulled off a "good coup" in appointing Rafael Benitez as their new manager.

Rafa Benitez and Alan Shearer
Rafa Benitez and Alan Shearer (inset)

The Spaniard has been given the task of keeping the north-east side, currently second bottom, in the lucrative Premier League with just 10 games of the season remaining. Benitez was installed at St James' Park on Friday just hours after the Magpies sacked Steve McClaren.

Newcastle are just one point shy of safety and Shearer said Benitez could keep them in the top flight. "I think it's a good coup for Newcastle," said Shearer. "I'm surprised, when you consider how much success he's had at other clubs.

"What's different about this appointment is that all the other managers that have been appointed under (owner) Mike Ashley have been in a position of weakness. (They have) not being able to name their terms, they've had to put up with a transfer system that hasn't benefited the club or themselves, and other things," the former England striker added.

"Whereas Rafa can come in, he can put down exactly what he wants, he's not a head coach, he's a manager, he can have the transfer system — both incomings and outgoings — and he can name all that before coming in."

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