Ayoze Perez on Rafa Benitez, his Newcastle future and the club’s new signings

Ayoze Perez
Ayoze Perez

Ayoze Perez says he wants to be back in the Premier League – with Newcastle United.

Perez was linked with a move away from the club in the wake of relegation.

And Tottenham Hotspur have been monitoring his situation.

But the 22-year-old – who is set to face Doncaster Rovers at the Keepmoat Stadium tonight (7.45pm kick-off) in the club’s second pre-season friendly – says his only focus is on the coming campaign in the Championship.

“I already said when the team went down that I would try to come back to the Premier League (with Newcastle),” said Perez.

“That’s it. I’m focused. I’m here. Now we need to get fit for a tough season.

I’m focused. I’m here. Now we need to get fit for a tough season.

Ayoze Perez

“We have had a rest, now it’s time to start again, work and focus on the season ahead.

“We try to get back as soon as possible.”

Perez – who signed a new long-term deal in February – was buoyed by the decision of his Spanish countryman Rafa Benitez to stay at St James’s Park and manage United in English football’s second tier.

“We all know how important Rafa is for Newcastle,” said Perez, signed from Tenerife as an unknown two years ago.

“He always helps everyone at the club. It’s good to have him as our coach.

“He’s important for me. We are going to learn a lot from him.”

Perez and his team-mates spent last week in Ireland, where they beat Dublin side Bohemian 6-0 after a week-long training camp in County Kildare.

“It was really good,” said Perez, who scored six goals last season.

“It was hard work, as always in pre-season. It was a good week in Ireland.”

Newcastle have already signed five players – Dwight Gayle, Matt Ritchie, Jesus Gamez, Isaac Hayden and Matz Sels – this summer, and more arrivals are expected in the coming weeks as Benitez continues to rebuild and strengthen his squad.

Asked about the club’s transfer business, Perez said: “They are good signings. At the moment the squad is really good – a lot of quality – and now we need to get ready and fit for this tough season.”