By Harvey Byrne

Former Liverpool full-back John Arne Riise has praised current Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez as the best manager he’s worked under.

The 35-year-old is currently taking a break from football after stating that he had lost motivation, but he does plan to return to the game before officially retiring.

Riise joined the Reds in 2001 for then boss Gerard Houlier. Benitez moved to Anfield in 2004 and the Norwegian full-back enjoyed four-years under the Spaniard, including featuring in Liverpool’s historic 2005 Istanbul victory.

Riise eventualy left Anfield for Roma, but he is still full of praise for the Magpies manager.

“I’m sure he will get them back up even though they lost against Fulham which I wasn’t unhappy about because I used to play for the club,” Riise told Sky Sports.

“It’s a very competitive league and I think it’s different to what Benitez has experienced before in terms of the way games are played.

“Benitez will need to adapt a little bit but he is brilliant and he will do that. Benitez is so hard-working, he’s a tactical genius.

“I still keep in touch with Rafa and I really wish him well. He’s the best manager I’ve had and somebody I shared so much with together.”

Benitez has managed 12 teams throughout his career including Real Madrid, Liverpool, Inter Milan and Napoli.

He has won the Champions League, Europa League and two La Liga titles during his managerial career.

He agreed to stay with the St James’ Park club this summer after suffering relegation to the Championship and he has acted quickly in the summer window in a bid to try and turn around the club’s fortunes.

He has brought Matz Sels, Ciaran Clark and Jesus Gamez to the club and has also invested in Championship experienced players with Dwight Gayle, Matt Ritchie, Grant Hanley, Mohamed Diame and Isaac Hayden joining the north east club.

In other Newcastle team news, captain Jamaal Lascelles has guaranteed fans that the club will not lack any personality under his leadership.