St James's Park, the home of Newcastle United Football Club. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Newcastle United players 'demand crisis talks' after shock Mike Ashley decision, Magpies set sights on League One star

It’s Monday morning, the start of a new week, and Steve Bruce remains in his head coach position at Newcastle United.

Monday, 22nd March 2021, 9:03 am

The Magpies, embarrassingly beaten 3-0 by relegation rivals Brighton and Hove Albion at the weekend, wasted the opportunity to go five points clear of 18th-place Fulham.

Yet, as the scoreline suggests, Bruce’s men failed to lay a glove on their south coast hosts and instead remain in deep trouble with just two wins in 20 matches.

To say calls for Bruce to be sacked intensified on Saturday night is an understatement.

However, less than 12 hours after the full-time whistle at the Amex Stadium, United supporters were greeted with the news that their wishes will not be met.

Mike Ashley is sticking by Bruce because of his “passion and loyalty” and expects the 60-year-old and his players to “step up” their battle for survival after the international break.

Reports from Football Insider, however, claim some of the Magpies’ playing squad are demanding face-to-face talks with Lee Charnley after being left shocked by Bruce’s backing.

It is claimed several players have lost all faith in the former Manchester United defender and are considering making their feelings known directly to the Newcastle hierarchy.

Meanwhile, former Toon boss Rafa Benitez i.e. “the mighty Rafa”, is eyeing a return to management – preferably in the Premier League.

Benitez, who was succeeded by Bruce in 2019, is out of work after leaving Chinese side Dalian Pro at the beginning of the year.

The Spaniard has most recently been linked with the vacancy at Celtic, but Benitez is hopeful of landing a job in England.

"The priority is England," Benitez told The Sunday Times. "Why? Because obviously I like the Premier League and my family is here.

"I have a lot [of offers] from the Emirates, United States, Brazil, China, but I want to stay in Europe. And I want to stay in England.

"If it's the right one, we can do it tomorrow but the project, the competitive team, is not there at the moment so we have to wait.

"But I don't want to stay without working. I want to be on the pitch as soon as possible."

Here are the latest headlines from around the Premier League – including some transfer gossip concerning Newcastle:

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