Rafael Benitez: Newcastle United boss can 'heal' relegated club, says ex-goalkeeper Steve Harper

Benitez started the season with Real Madrid
Rafael Benitez started the season with Real Madrid

Steve Harper says the "whole city" of Newcastle is on "tenterhooks" while Rafael Benitez decides whether to remain as boss of the relegated club.

Benitez is thought to have a break clause in his contract that would allow him to leave in the summer.

Former Newcastle goalkeeper Harper told BBC Radio 5 live he hopes the Spaniard stays.

"Given the disappointment of relegation, this is what the fans need to start the healing process," he said.

"The whole city is on tenterhooks. They are craving this piece of good news."

Benitez took over from Steve McClaren in March but could not stop the Magpies from dropping into the Championship.

Benitez has won three of his 10 games in charge
Rafael Benitez has won three of his 10 games in charge

Harper still thinks the former Liverpool, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid boss did enough to demonstrate he can help turn the club's fortunes around.

"He showed, in a very short period of time, just how good he is," said Harper. "The city of Newcastle and the fans certainly need this to happen and to happen soon."

According to Ian Dennis, Radio 5 Live's chief football reporter, Newcastle could secure Benitez's services by the end of this week or the start of next.

Dennis says Magpies owner Mike Ashley is prepared to give the 56-year-old what he wants and he has already identified his targets.

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