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Rafa Benitez reveals which Newcastle players he resembled as a footballer; Newcastle Utd manager Rafa Benitez has been reflecting on his playing career in an interview with Soccer AM.

Byline: Ciaran Kelly

Rafa Benitez believes he was somewhere betweenJonjo ShelveyandIsaac Haydenas a player - joking he had the 'bad things' of both.

Idolising Franz Beckenbauer, theNewcastle Unitedboss started his playing career at Real Madrid and was selected to play for Spain at the world student games in Mexico City in 1979.

It was during the games thatBenitezsuffered a knee injury which partially severed an internal lateral ligament and hindered his development going forward.

Following spells at Parla and Linares, where he played as a holding midfielder and sweeper, Benitez retired at the age of 26 in 1986. So what was he like as a player?

"It's very difficult but I will give you players here," he told Soccer AM's Tubes in an interview for the Sky programme. "I will be between Hayden and Jonjo Shelvey. The bad things about both!"

Having taken detailed notes as a teenager, and talked a lot during games as a player, it was hardly a surprise that Benitez embarked on a career in coaching.

The Spaniard's journey started with Real Madrid's youth teams before spells with Real Valladolid, Osasuna, Extremadura, Tenerife, Valencia, Liverpool, Inter Milan, Chelsea, Napoli, Real Madrid and, of course, Newcastle.

Benitez will take charge of the final game of his current Magpies' contract against Fulham on Sunday and is due to meet with owner Mike Ashley in the coming days as he seeks the reassurances he needs to sign a new deal.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Chronicle (Newscastle upon Tyne, England)
Article Type:Interview
Date:May 11, 2019
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