By Will Butcher

Rafa Benitez has described Leeds boss Garry Monk as a “good” and “growing” manager ahead of Sunday’s clash against Newcastle.

The former Swansea boss has orchestrated Leeds rise from the lower depths of the Championship to sixth place, with nine wins in 12 league and cup encounters.

Speaking ahead of Sunday’s televised Championship clash, Champions League winner Benitez spoke highly of his younger counterpart as they prepare to do battle in front of Elland Road’s first sell-out crowd in six years.

“Garry Monk is a good manager,” Benitez said, as quoted by Newcastle’s official Twitter account. “A young manager who is growing.”

Benitez and Monk have met before, as Napoli drew Swansea in the Europa League during the 2013-14 season.

Aged only 37″, Monk has developed a reputation as one of the brightest young managers in English football following a largely successful 18-month stint at Swansea.

With 10 wins in his first 20 league and cup fixtures as Leeds boss, Monk will be hoping to continue that impressive record on Sunday but will face a tough task against Benitez’s league leaders.

The Toon have recorded eight straight wins, and will be looking to move six points clear at the top of the Championship if they can secure a win against Monk and company.

In other Leeds news, here are three reasons why Monk should consider the possibility of resigning this ex-Leeds star.