Kevin Nolan: Rafa Benitez can ‘build’ something special at Newcastle

Kevin Nolan believes Rafa Benitez can “build” something special at Newcastle United.

Benitez’s representatives are in talks with the club over his future.

Newcastle’s manager, wanted by West Ham United, will only commit his longer-term future to if he believes he will get the backing to challenge for trophies and European football.

Former United midfielder Nolan, now in charge of promotion-chasing League Two club Notts County, said earlier in the season that Benitez “played on” the fact that he hadn’t got what he wanted in the transfer market last summer.

“Listen, I did a Sky Sports interview, and they were asking me about Newcastle,” said Nolan.

“We all know Mike (Ashley, Newcastle’s owner) is not going to reverse. He wants to sell up. There’s no hidden agenda there.

Notts County manager Kevin Nolan.

Notts County manager Kevin Nolan.

“I thought Rafa played on it too much earlier in the season, but he stopped that and just did what Rafa does, which is making a team.

“People thought they could be relegated, but he made a team and they looked very solid. Hopefully, bit by bit, he can build. I’m absolutely delighted to see it.”

Meanwhile, Notts County take on Coventry City at Meadow Lane tonight in the second leg of their play-off semi-final. The two clubs drew 1-1 at the Ricoh Arena last week.

Midfielder Jorge Grant said: “It’s now all guns blazing. We’ve got to put our home record to good use.”

People thought they could be relegated, but he made a team and they looked very solid. Hopefully, bit by bit, he can build.

Kevin Nolan