Rob Elliot's emphatic response to speculation about Rafa Benitez's Newcastle future

Rob Elliot
Rob Elliot

Rob Elliot says Rafa Benitez is in it for the long haul at Newcastle United.

The club last night won promotion back to the Premier League with two games to spare in the Championship.

Goalkeeper Elliot made his return from long-term injury in a 4-1 win over Preston North End at St James's Park.

After the game, Benitez was asked if he would be at the club next season.

Benitez said: “You never know – that's football."

United's manager wants to strengthen his squad in the summer, and he will hold talks with the club's hierarchy once the last ball has been kicked this season.

For his part, Elliott firmly believes that Benitez is committed to creating something "special" at Newcastle.

"I don't think he'll stay just to keep us up," the 30-year-old told talkSPORT.

"He's not that sort of manager. He sees this as a long-term project. The connection back with the fans, with the manager and the players is just brilliant.

"Hopefully this is the start of something special and we can look back and see this as the catalyst that pushes up forward."

On the post-match celebrations, Elliot said: "It was brilliant in the dressing room.

You work for it for so long. The lads have been magnificent the whole time.

"I'm old with a bad knee now, so I went home early. I'm sure the lads celebrated."

After the match, Elliot – who ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in March last year – took to Twitter to reflect on a memorable comeback.

The Republic of Ireland international tweeted: "So if Carling did return from injuries. What a night for everyone @NUFC. Back where we belong. So proud and grateful to everyone."