Ex-Newcastle United midfielder Gini Wijnaldum has surprisingly admitted he was devastated to see Steve McClaren sacked in 2016.
Wijnaldum was brought to St James's Park by McClaren in the summer of 2015 for £14.5million after he oversaw an £80million spending spree across two transfer windows.
The 28-year-old immediately hit the ground running on Tyneside with nine goals - including four in a 6-2 win over Norwich City - to his name at the end of January.
Wijnaldum's form dipped in the final months of the season and McClaren was eventually sacked following a 3-1 home defeat to Bournemouth in March 2016 - leaving the club 19th in the Premier League.
Rafa Benitez replaced McClaren, and despite finishing the 2015-16 season six games unbeaten, the Spaniard was unable prevent the club from slipping into the Championship for the second time in eight years.
And while he praised the impact of Benitez, Wijnaldum was sad to see McClaren depart the North East.
Speaking to Liverpool FC's official website, the Dutch International said: “I was devastated that Steve McClaren left because he brought me to Newcastle and he was great to work with and deserved way better from us as players, but I was also happy that I could work with Benitez."
“In the beginning I was playing as a No.10 for Newcastle and with Rafa Benitez I played a few games as a No.8 and a few as a No.6, and right midfield and left midfield. But a lot of games I also played as a left-winger because we were playing 4-4-2.”
“It was great playing for him, I learned a lot, a lot. When he came we collected a lot of points.
"He is really good at making a team with the type of players he has and he is also a man who knows how to get every bit of potential out of you. I was happy that he was there."