Newcastle can reproduce top six finish, but Rafa Benitez and signings are key - Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor
Ryan Taylor

Newcastle United are just a few signings away from achieving something special under Rafa Benitez - that's the view of former Magpie Ryan Taylor.

Taylor, who spent six years with the Magpies, is a cult hero on Tyneside for his 'over the wall' goal against Sunderland.

He was also a key member of the United squad promoted in 2010, which went on to finish 5th, narrowly missing out on the Champions League, in 2012.

And the 33-year-old, now of Port Vale, thinks this squad has the qualities to emulate what Alan Pardew's men did five years ago, with a few key additions, and by making sure they hang on to manager Rafa Benitez.

"If Rafa's happy and he stays, there's only one way the club's going," Taylor told NUFC TV.

"I've heard some great things about him on the training pitch, how hard he works, behind the scenes. You keep Rafa and you're only going in one direction.

"When you look at the club as a whole, they've got everything. They just need to believe in themselves a little bit more.

"Okay, it wasn't a great transfer window but the squad is good enough to compete in the Premier League, as we've already seen. And if they can stay in the top half this season, and keep Rafa, I'm sure they can only push on from there.

"Hopefully they get a few more signings next season and push the club on even further. As a Newcastle fan and ex-player, that's what you want to see.

"I know we did manage fifth but the club as a whole has got the potential to reach the same again, if not better."

Taylor, who made more than 100 appearances for United domestically and in the Europa League, admits he loved his time with at St James's Park.

"I think they (the fans) appreciate not just the goal against Sunderland; I think they just appreciated the fact I tried my best every time I played for the club, and that’s what they want from you," he said.

"I went to the golf (the British Masters at Close House) and there was a group teeing off in the tournament, and lads are singing the song! I'm like 'lads, time and place!'

"But it's great - and it always makes you feel really loved when you come back to Newcastle."