Miles Starforth's diary in Spain: No booze ban under Rafa Benitez – here's why

A couple of weeks ago, Rafa Benitez was asked if his Newcastle United players would be able to have a drink during the club's training camp in Spain.

"Yes," said a smiling Benitez. "They can have a drink water. No problem!"

The question came not long after four West Bromwich Albion players got themselves into trouble in Barcelona.

However, there wasn't a booze ban for Newcastle this time.

Captain Jamaal Lascelles posted a photograph on Twitter of the club's players and staff during a team night out at a tapas restaurant in Torrevieja, close to the club's training base.

Supporters quickly noticed that there was alcohol on the players' table.

Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez

Benitez – who doesn't drink himself – allowed his players a glass or two of wine during the team night out.

It's clear that Benitez trusts his players and the players, in turn, respect their manager.

They didn't abuse that trust on Friday night. When Benitez got up to leave the restaurant, the players followed him back to the team hotel.

Benitez has his problems at Newcastle, but discipline isn't one of them.

***

"Are you from Newcastle?"

That was the question I was asked in the gents at Newcastle United's luxury hotel yesterday.

"Yes," I replied.

The gentleman in the toilet was from Denmark – and he wanted to talk about Jon Dahl Tomasson. Remember him?

Tomasson joined the club 21 years ago from Heerenveen. Signed to play behind a striker, Tomasson found fielded up front as a target man after Alan

Shearer suffered an injury in pre-season which would keep him out until January.

It didn't work out for Tomasson.

"It is quite simple, really," admitted Tomasson years later. "I was too young."

Tomasson left for Feyenoord after only a year on Tyneside.

He went on to have a long and successful career.

It's just a shame Newcastle fans never got to see the best of him, though Tomasson's association with the club, it seems, is well remembered in his homeland.