By Harvey Byrne
Former Liverpool defender Daniel Agger has praised current Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez as the “best tactician” he has played for.
The former Liverpool player retired from football earlier this summer at the age of 31 after his contract expired at Brondby.
He was signed by Benitez at Liverpool as a 21-year-old in the summer of 2006 for a fee of £5.8million, and went on to become a key and immensely popular player at the Merseyside club.
Agger starred under the Spanish boss for four-years and is full of praise for the Magpies manager.
“He was, without a doubt, the best tactician I have played for. He could change formation and tactics three times in one game,” said the former Denmark international to the Guardian.
“We practiced his different systems so we knew what to do in different ones. I also remember when we went 1-0 down against Barcelona at the Camp Nou.
“Benitez was there [pushing his hands downward as to say ‘stay calm’]. A few of us panicked a little bit and thought we’d get our arses kicked, but he was ice cool. He just stood there on the sidelines and said: take it easy, carry on doing what you are doing – and in the end we won 2-1.”
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 and Jesus Gamez to the club and has also invested in Championship experienced players with Dwight Gayle, Matt Ritchie and Isaac Hayden joining the north east club.
In other Newcastle team news, Toon stalwart Haris Vuckic has been told by Rafa Benitez that he isn’t a part of the manager’s plans.