Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce

Alan Hutton admits it is no surprise to see Rafael Benitez linked with a return to Newcastle United under new owners.

The former Aston Villa star, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, has lauded the Spaniard for the job he did during his first spell on Tyneside but believes Steve Bruce should be given his chance should the takeover take place.

Sky Sports reporter Keith Downie claims that it is “almost inevitable” that the consortium bidding to take over from Mike Ashley will make a move to bring Benitez back to the club.

“I’d be very surprised if Newcastle United and Amanda Staveley were to go for someone else other than their former manager Rafa Benitez,” he told Sky Sports.

Hutton, who worked under Bruce at Villa, admits his old boss had a tough task taking Benitez’s place in the dugout but insists he should not be replaced for the Spanish manager just yet.

Hutton told Football Insider: “These things always come up, it’s amazing, when you’re at clubs and previous managers or ones that have worked with players are always getting touted for coming in. It always happens.

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“He had an amazing relationship with the fans, they loved him to bits. I know Steve really well and it was always going to be hard for Steve Bruce to come in and follow it.

“It doesn’t surprise me his name’s popped up again. You just have to look at his CV, it’s brilliant. I think it’s fair Steve Bruce remains and gets his chance though.”

With the Premier League suspended, Newcastle currently sit 13th in the table and are into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup for the first time under Mike Ashley.

The Sports Direct supremo has been in charge for 13 years, overseeing two relegations as well as one season in Europe.

In other Newcastle United news, Football Insider can reveal Mauricio Pochettino’s stance on taking charge of the Magpies.