By Kevin Phillips

10th Oct, 2021 | 6:00pm

Newcastle to receive 'very clear' response from Benitez over replacing Bruce - pundit

Rafael Benitez would turn down Newcastle United if offered the opportunity to replace Steve Bruce.

That is the view of former Premier League striker Kevin Phillips, speaking exclusively to Football Insider about a potential change of management at St. James’ Park in light of the Saudi-backed takeover.

The new owners are expected to relieve Steve Bruce of his duties this month.

As revealed by Football Insider (7th October), there are plans to sound out Benitez’s interest in a return to the club.

Benitez left Newcastle in June 2019 because of previous owner Mike Ashley.

He is now manager of Everton, who are currently fifth in the Premier League table.

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When asked by Football Insider if Benitez would likely be interested in returning, Phillips said: “No, no.

“I think he is happy where he is at the moment. I know he has an affinity with the Newcastle fans but he is doing an excellent job at Everton. They were fantastic at Man United.

“I can understand why Newcastle might want him to come back. He is a top-quality manager at the end of the day.

“But he is back in Liverpool, an area which he loves, and he’s doing well. I think he is happy where he is.

“I don’t think that has much legs at all. I think he’d make it very clear to Newcastle that he is happy at Everton if that situation arose.”

In other news, Kieran Maguire claims Newcastle United are in line for an astonishing ‘£205m’ January signing spree.