Rafael Benitez: Newcastle owner Mike Ashley needs no invitation to training

Mike Ashley
Mike Ashley bought Newcastle United for £134m in 2007

Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez says Mike Ashley can attend training whenever he wants, after a report claimed the club owner was "irritated" by the lack of an invitation.

The Daily Mailexternal-link also claimed the two do not speak directly, but that Ashley would accept any invitation offered.

"It's not an issue," said Benitez, whose side visits Manchester City on Saturday.

"Mike Ashley is the owner and he is welcome here when he wants to come."

Questioned further on the subject, Benitez replied: "Are you married? Yes. You have a house? Yes. So do you have to be invited into your own house?

"You are the owner, so you can do what you want. You are the owner, you are welcome."

Benitez is out of contract at the end of the season and speculation is rife that the Spaniard is reluctant to commit his future to the club after another summer of limited transfer activity.

Asked about his future beyond the end of his current contract, Benitez said: "It is too early. We have plenty of time to discuss things, don't worry."

Newcastle signed Fabian Schar, Martin Dubravka, Salomon Rondon, Yoshinori Muto, Kenedy, Ki Sung-yueng and Federico Fernandez over the summer.

But during pre-season Benitez said Newcastle fans "need to be concerned" by the club's transfer dealings, while the club's players later refused to co-operate with the media in a dispute over bonuses.

However, a joint statement by Benitez and Newcastle chief Lee Charnley on the eve of the season claimed that "doing good business in a transfer window is about ending the window clearly stronger than when you started and we believe we have done this".