Ex-Newcastle and Sunderland winger tips Rafa Benitez for Manchester United job

Chris Waddle has tipped Rafa Benitez for the managerial job at Manchester United
Chris Waddle has tipped Rafa Benitez for the managerial job at Manchester United

Ex Newcastle United and Sunderland winger Chris Waddle has tipped Rafa Benitez to succeed Jose Mourinho at Manchester United.

Waddle, now 57 years old, started his professional career at St James's Park when the club plucked him out of non-league when at Tow Law Town.

He made 170 appearances and scored 46 during his five years on Tyneside before leaving to join Tottenham Hotspur in 1985.

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Then, moves to Marseille, Sheffield Wednesday and Falkirk formed his career path on his route back to the North East with Sunderland in 1997.

The former England international, now pursing a career in TV punditry, was quoted speaking to Sportingbet, where he surprisingly tipped Benitez for the managerial role at Old Trafford with the pressure on Mourinho continuing.

It was a 3-2 win against the Magpies two weeks that reportedly saved Mourinho's job after they fought back from 2-0 down in the final 20 minutes.

“Everybody at the club from the players to the fans loves Rafa Benitez and wants him to stay for the long-term," said Waddle. "but I don’t think anyone would begrudge him leaving in these conditions."

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“He is a very talented ambitious manager who is not getting even close to what he wants from Mike Ashley and there’s only so many times you can ignore the approaches from other clubs with looser purse strings.

“I think Rafa Benitez should be a candidate to replace Jose Mourinho at Manchester United. He is definitely good enough and has that big club experience having won trophies around Europe.

“Manchester United might not consider him due to his history with Liverpool, but there’s no doubt in my mind he would be a good choice."

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Meanwhile, Waddle spoke further about Benitez and his situation at Newcastle with many believing the 57-year-old will walk away from the Magpies at the end of the season once his contract expires.

And while Waddle admitted Benitez probably won't hang around due to the lack of ambition from the Sports Direct owner, the Felling-born lad believes the Spaniard has found something unique on Tyneside.

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He said: “I think Rafa Benitez would love to sign a new deal at Newcastle and stay at the club next year, if they can avoid relegation,” Waddle added.

“He will have offers from other clubs but he knows how rare it is to have unwavering support from the fans and that’s exactly what he has at Newcastle.

“But there will come a point where Rafa Benitez has to leave Newcastle in order to fulfil his own ambitions. He wants to compete for trophies and have more freedom in the transfer market, but there’s little sign of that happening at the moment.

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“Benitez won’t hang around battling relegation forever.”