By Noel Whelan

16th May, 2021 | 8:00am

Ex-striker thrilled by 'incredible' Tottenham manager development

The Tottenham players would “love” it if Rafael Benitez was appointed as manager, according to Noel Whelan.

The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, suggested the Spaniard’s “incredible” man-management skills would get the best out of Spurs’ squad.

As revealed by Football Insider on Saturday, Tottenham have held discussions with Benitez, as well as other candidates, as they narrow down their list of options.

A Tottenham source has told Football Insider the club are increasingly confident of making an appointment before the end of the season.

Benitez has been out of work since leaving Chinese outfit Dalian Professional by mutual consent in January.

Whelan insisted the 61-year-old was the sort of “big-name” manager the Spurs players would thrive under.

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Whelan told Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge: “I think he’s probably somebody who will get the best out of players.

“I think you’ve seen that as well when he was at Newcastle. Under difficult circumstances he did an incredible job. He has done it at Liverpool as well with big-name players.

“That’s what he’s going to have to deal with at Tottenham. Big-name players, international players and I think his management skills are better than Jose Mourinho. He’s a more approachable kind of guy.

“I think he’s somebody that would know and play the style of football that Tottenham want because he did that at Liverpool as well. I don’t see that as a risk. He’s a big name, going into a big club.

“He needs to deal with big players and big personalities and I think that’s exactly what he’d do. You’ve got to have a manager who’s going to get the respect of the players. They’d run through brick walls for him.

“You can tell from someone’s personality. The players would definitely love him.” 

Benitez last managed in the Premier League with Newcastle United before moving to China in 2019.

The Spaniard’s family have been based in England since his spell as Liverpool boss.

In other news, Tottenham face a battle to sign “world-class” Premier League star this summer.