By Russell Edge
Former Newcastle United midfielder Gavin Peacock has said that the approach of current boss Rafael Benitez reminds him of former manager and Geordie icon Kevin Keegan.
The Spanish manager has been at the helm at St James’ Park since March 2016, when he took over from former head coach Steve McClaren.
Although he was not able to prevent the club from suffering the ignominy of relegation, he remained to lead the club back to the top flight at the first time of asking, and has ensured that his side have made a solid start to this season.
He has built a reputation as a manager who focuses on his defence, with his approach having led the club to having the joint fifth best defensive record in the top flight so far, level with Chelsea on six goals conceded.
It would seem a far cry from Keegan’s ‘entertainers’ side of the 1990’s, who were famed for their attacking flair and disregard for the defensive side of the game, but Peacock, who made 105 appearances for the club, believes there are similarities between the two managers.
He told the Chronicle, on the live blog (10/10, 13:36) on their website: “Rafa is a really good manager, Newcastle will be defensively sound because already I’m just looking at the table and they’re one of the lowest goals against.
“You look at Kevin [Keegan], he was an attacking manager but in the promotion season, his first signings were defensive players; Venison, Beresford, Bracewell.
“He said to me; ‘I want to get the platform right so the good attacking players can go on.’
“Benitez, if he’s getting that platform right, just needs to be given the money because you need to be given the money to be able to go out and get the midfielder or goalscorer.”
Keegan was Newcastle manager between 1992 and 1998, before returning in an ill-fated spell in 2008, when he left due to alleged broken promises by owner Mike Ashley.
Benitez has also had his frustrations over Ashley, voicing his discontent publicly over the club’s disappointing performance in the summer transfer window.
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