Steve Harper: Newcastle need to be 'street-wise' in Championship

Steve Harper
Steve Harper

Steve Harper says Newcastle United must toughen up for the Championship.

The relegated club are favourites with the bookmakers to return to the Premier League at the first attempt.

But Harper – who spent two decades at St James's Park and helped United win the Championship by 11 points in 2009-10 – feels Rafa Benitez's talented side must be "street-wise".

"They can definitely bounce back, but there's all this hype that it will be easy," Harper told talkSPORT.

"Believe me, it wasn't easy last time. It was tough, even though we won the league by 11 or 12 points.

"We had a toughness about us. We were street-wise and horrible to play against.

"There's all these people that think they're going to walk the league, but they've just got to get up, whether they win it, come second or come up through the play-offs.

"They will have tough spells, they will lose a few games and it's about the togetherness to get out of that league as soon as possible."

Harper, 41, spent last season at Sunderland and could yet prolong his long playing career and sign for another club this season.