Rafa Benitez addresses Salomon Rondon's Newcastle future

Rafa Benitez believes the best is yet to come from Salomon Rondon at Newcastle United.

Monday, 17th December 2018, 6:00 am
Rafa Benitez.

The on-loan striker scored his fourth Premier League goal for the club in Saturday’s 1-0 win over Huddersfield Town.

Rondon scored from close range in the second half after a quick break forward.

The strike took Rondon’s goal tally in all competitions to five.

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Benitez, however, believes that Rondon can make an even bigger contribution in front of goal – with a little more help from his team-mates.

“I’m happy with him, but still he can improve, because I think he is doing a great job for the team, but we maybe have to support him a little bit more,” said United’s manager.

“If he has more support, if he has more crosses and passes into him, then he will score more goals, because he can do it.

“Anyone can do it if you give them more assists, but I think with Salomon, if the team puts the ball in the right position, then he will also be on the end of the crosses, or at the end of the passes.”

Benitez quickly identified Rondon, 29, as a target in the summer.

However, Benitez, forced to sell to buy, didn’t have the transfer funds to activate his £16.5million release clause at The Hawthorns before it expired.

The club eventually signed him from West Bromwich Albion on loan, with Dwight Gayle going the other way on a season-lon deal.

“We knew him quite well,” said Benitez.

“We knew that he could do what he is doing already. Still, he can improve, and he knows he can improve, so he will work hard to try and improve.”

Rondon is under contract at West Brom until 2020.

Asked if there was a still a chance Newcastle could sign Rondon on a permanent deal, Benitez said: “It will be fine.

“Hopefully, he can start scoring a lot of goals, and then you can ask me this in a few weeks, and hopefully it can be positive then, too.”