In Rafa Benitez, Newcastle United can boast of once having one of the best managers to ever grace the English Premier League.
The Spaniard won the La Liga with Valencia, the Champions League with Liverpool, the English Championship with Newcastle and also managed the likes of Real Madrid, Napoli, Inter Milan, and Chelsea.
Benitez is currently with Chinese Super League outfit Dalian Yifang, but hasn’t ruled out a return to Europe.
Having seen some of his former players become managers, the former Magpies boss believes five Newcastle players have what it takes to go into management after retiring.
“I’m speculating now, but that’s why I think Martin Dubravka, who was our goalkeeper at St James’ Park, could become a coach. That’s my feeling. He understands the game,” Benitez told The Athletic.
“People rightly will point out that not too many keepers become managers but I wonder if that’s because in the past they tended to train separately from the rest of the team, so they would have less involvement in terms of the sessions, tactics, positions and things like that.
“Might others at Newcastle move into coaching? Maybe Paul Dummett. Jonjo Shelvey and Christian Atsu both like talking about football. Matt Ritchie has passion.”
Rafa has seen the likes of Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso, and Mauricio Pellegrino go into management, and he definitely knows one or two traits to look out for in players who can go into coaching after retiring.
Without a doubt, the five aforementioned Newcastle stars caught his attention during his time at SJP, and it will be interesting to see if any of them will consider going into the dugout once they hang their boots.
Gerrard is doing well at Rangers, Alonso is in charge of Real Sociedad B, and it’s safe to say Benitez had a huge influence on them during their Liverpool days.