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As old rivalries are renewed Rafa is already 6-0 up on Moyes.


FOR all of Rafa Benitez's six years at Liverpool he endured a massive city rivalry with David Moyes, across Stanley Park as chief of Everton.

Now the pair are back in close derby competition twixt Tyne and Wear, thrust together amid great demands from the most passionate of supporters.

While Moyes and Sunderland have a Premier League platform and Rafa only second-tier football, I am sure in some ways envious eyes are being cast towards SJP.

Why? Because Benitez has signed six new players so far with more to come.

That means United are being shaped in his image, whereas Sunderland so far haven't one newcomer who cost a penny. Of course, Moyes will sign before August is out - he has to if Houdini is to escape relegation yet again this coming season.

Sunderland's new boss needs as many as Rafa has already signed, according to Lee Cattermole.

Nevertheless, starting late and playing catch-up is not the ideal way to approach a fresh campaign and Geordies have been much relieved to see considerable rebuilding work completed this summer.

Rafa has recruited half a team already but is still thirsting for more, which means the glorious speculation among eager supporters over a pint goes on unabated.

It is hard to chuck together so many strangers and expect an instant gelling, as the defence showed on Saturday. It is a bit like throwing the Barbarians together in rugby union - perhaps you will have moments of magic but equally moments of uncertainty of what one another is doing. However, United's boss is both meticulous and demanding on the training ground drumming in what he requires not just from the team but each individual which can help accelerate the getting-to-know-you process.

The other point is not all new faces will be on firstteam duty this Benitez has Friday. Rafa is looking at the overall squad not just one to 11.

no fewer new players with more - United shaped image Compared to the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Charlton brothers' England triumphing in the World Cup final against the old enemy, and with the Rio Olympics just round the next corner, Newcastle's solitary home friendly this weekend was nothing more than a sideshow.

Even to Geordies, really, because the proper stuff starts on Friday night when United require a capital show against Fulham.

Maybe they are unbeaten pre-season over five outings, and in the last six of the PL, but that is candy floss now. Nice, but just decoration.

signed than six so far to come are being in his Meanwhile, Moussa Sissoko, back where he does not want to be, will not be appearing at Newcastle's open training session today. Just as well - he might have gone into the record books as the only player to be booed by fans when wearing a training bib!

Osueke so happy to go pro TYNESIDER Lawrence Osueke, who enjoyed a stellar amateur career, has turned pro with top London promoter Frank Warren.

Lawrence was in the GB squad for four years boxing at the Europeans, in several Multi Nations tournaments, and the majority of majors across the globe outside the Worlds and Olympics having originally become an ABA Senior Elite champion.

A Cullercoats lad, Osueke is following in the footsteps of his uncle Manny Burgo who fought for England as an amateur and became a professional.

Lawrence, 28, will compete at light heavyweight and is living in Salford where he is trained by Oliver Harrison, who looked after Amir Khan for his first 16 paid bouts.

"I had more or less done everything as an amateur and I was looking round for motivation," Osueke told me. "When my dreams of making the worlds was cruelly ended, I realised I needed a buzz I could not get just by repeating tournaments.

"Going professional looked the obvious step. I have settled into Oliver's gym well and I cannot wait for my pro debut."

Burgo, who fought at heavyweight, said: "I have naturally followed Lawrence during all his amateur years. The family are very proud of him. I believe he can go further than me in the pro ranks."

I have watched the silky-smooth, elegant Osueke over a long period now. An engaging young man, he could do well in the tough world of pro boxing if Warren, normally a shrewd picker of opponents and maker of champions, keeps his Midas touch.

| Anyone willing to sponsor Lawrence on his new venture should call 07966 493 638.

accelerate know-you of night when capital show Maybe not not Newcastle's Benitez has signed no fewer than six new players so far with more to come - United are being shaped in his image


Then Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez (above left) and then Everton boss David Moyes in one of the many Merseyside derbies they contested; they find themselves rivals again
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 1, 2016
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