Achraf Lazaar opens up on training alone at Newcastle, social media messages and his relationship with Rafa Benitez

Achraf Lazaar has opened up about his exile at Newcastle United's Academy.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 10th October 2018, 3:49 pm
Updated Wednesday, 10th October 2018, 4:56 pm
Achraf Lazaar.
Achraf Lazaar.

Lazaar was told to find a new club in the the summer by manager Rafa Benitez.

However, a proposed move to Genoa broke down in August and the defender, signed two years ago from Palermo, is now training and playing with the club's Under-23 squad.

Lazaar, under contract until 2021, told “It’s not a good moment for me.

"I arrived at Newcastle to show what I can do and to improve, but things are going differently. Honestly, I'm very sorry, but I accept this situation.

"I'm training with the second team and I play in the reserve championship. I delivered three assists in the last two games, and the coach and his staff are really helping me. They know it’s not an easy situation for me, and they're trying to help me.

"Sometimes, I train on my own after the end of training sessions to improve my level. That’s the only thing I can do if I want to improve, because I'm not playing Premier League games.”

Achraf Lazaar, centre.

Asked about his relationship with Benitez, Lazaar said: “I spoke with my team-mates, they say he's fine. I'm sorry the team is not doing well, especially because a lot of my team-mates would like me to be part of the team.

"I usually speak with them, but the only thing I can do is accept the situation. If this is his choice, I can only respect it.

"He (Benitez) speaks with my agent Roberto De Fanti. I had other expectations when I arrived here, but, as I said, Benitez has made a decision and I respect it. Now it’s up to me. I have to convince him.

"Being out from a manager’s plans is a new situation for me. Other managers used to tell me that I have the qualities to play in a big team, but with Benitez it's not the same. I will work as hard as I can, doing my best to return to the team.

“I don’t know what his plans are. Whatever is the reason, I respect it, because he's a great manager and I can only learn from him.”

Lazaar still hopes to play and train his way back into Benitez's plans.

"Personally, I will work hard, every day, to be ready for everything," said the 26-year-old. "Whenever the manager will need me, I will have to be ready. I'm fit, and I have been training hard to have even just half chance to prove Benitez that he was wrong.”

On his relationship with Newcastle's fans, Lazaar said: “Lots of them write to me on social media to tell me that they’d want to see me on the pitch with the first team. It’s something that I really appreciate, because I didn’t have much time to show my skills here in Newcastle.

"They haven’t seen the real Lazaar yet, but they haven’t forgotten about me.”

Lazaar also said he would be "ready" to join Genoa in January.

"If they’d call me again, I’d be ready to join the club," said the Morocco international.