By North-east correspondent Harry Sykes
Alan Shearer is convinced the appointment of Rafael Benitez has given Newcastle a chance of Premier League survival.
But the Magpies legend has called upon owner Mike Ashley and the board to given the new manager a free rein to run the club as he sees fit.
Steve McClaren was given the boot and replaced by Benitez on Friday in the wake of a catastrophic run of results that has left the club second from bottom of the Premier League.
Shearer believes the appointment of the Spaniard has given the club a glimmer of hope, providing he’s allowed to manager in the way he chooses.
“I think it’s a good coup for Newcastle to attract someone of Rafa’s stature… if he’s allowed to manage in the way he wants to,” Shearer told Match of the Day on Saturday evening.
He will in the dug-out for the trip to Premier League leaders Leicester on Monday night, and will then have a further nine matches to keep the Magpies in the top flight.
Benitez, who was sacked by Real Madrid in January, admitted he had other options on the table abut was delighted to get an offer from Newcastle.
“I had offers from abroad,” he said “But when I was at Liverpool we always talked about Newcastle as a massive club, the passion of the city.
“I’ve been away from my family in England for two and a half years that’s a big factor why I’m back.”