Date: 3rd May 2019 at 7:00am
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EXCLUSIVE

Danny Mills has insisted Rafael Benitez is a “world class” manager who is irreplaceable for Newcastle United.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former England international explained how vital it is that Benitez and owner Mike Ashley can reach an agreement on a contract extension.

The Spaniard’s future at St James’ Park is up in the air as his current agreement expires this summer and talks over a new deal are locked in stalemate.

“Newcastle have to keep Rafa Benitez,” Mills said. “He clearly loves the club, he clearly loves the area, he clearly loves being around the people and that’s why he’s stayed this long.

“He’s clearly got some sort of relationship with Mike Ashley that, however dysfunctional it might seem from the outside, it seems to work and he seems to accept that hand which he is given.

“If Newcastle lose Rafa Benitez it’s going to make it very, very difficult for the next manager coming in. He’s a world class manager, he’s managed at top clubs all over the world, we know what he’s good at, the positions he’s got Newcastle in over the last couple of seasons is outstanding.

“I don’t think there are too many other managers in the world who could have done what he’s done.”

Newcastle have comfortably secured Premier League survival for the second consecutive season following a difficult first half of the campaign in which Benitez admitted the club could be heading for relegation.

The club-record signing of Miguel Almiron has inspired a revival and the north-east giants have climbed to 13th in the Premier League table with a haul of 42 points.

Benitez’s side are next in action on Saturday night when they host his former club, title-challenging Liverpool, at St James’ Park.

In other Newcastle United news, it can be REVEALED the club have set their sights on signing big name Premier League star with hordes of international goals.