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No way back for Colback - Newcastle boss Benitez

Colback has played no part for Newcastle this season. Credit: PA

Rafael Benitez has admitted there is no way back for Jack Colback at Newcastle.

The 28-year-old midfielder continues to train with the club's under-23s after being told during the summer that he had no future at St James' Park and could leave.

However, a transfer window move failed to materialise and, despite Benitez having latest signing Mikel Merino potentially missing for several weeks with a lower back problem, a man who was called into the England squad back in 2014 will not be drafted back into the senior set-up.

Asked about Colback ahead of Saturday's Premier League clash with Bournemouth at St James' Park, Benitez said: "He's training in the academy with under-23s.

"He knows what the situation is and we will continue working with the players we have available now.

"He knew from the beginning we have four or five midfielders and I didn't want to have six. We couldn't manage to move any more players out at the end of the transfer window or find teams for them, and you can't train as well with too many players around in the same position. I didn't want that.

"Without Merino, we can play Mo Diame, Jonjo Shelvey, Isaac Hayden and Henri Saivet - even Chancel Mbemba played as a midfielder at the African Cup of Nations.

For all Benitez is confident he has cover, Merino's absence against the Cherries will come as a blow with the Spain Under-21 international, having made an impressive start to his career on Tyneside.

His manager said: "Merino is at least a couple of weeks. We'll see how he's doing. He won't go with the national team. He'll have treatment and we will see.


Benitez close to agreeing new Napoli deal

Rafa Benitez's agent is "optimistic" he will soon reach an agreement with the Serie A club for his client to remain in Naples beyond this summer.

Benitez's current deal expires at the end of this season and his agent Manuel Garcia Quilon held constructive talks in Naples on Thursday with Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis over the new contract.

Rafa Benitez looks set to stay. Credit: PA

"I'm an optimist by nature," Quilon said to Italian TV channel Mediaset. "The deal will not be completed today but we will need at least four or five days.

"When there are two people at the negotiating table you can't say with any certainty that a deal will be struck. The negotiations are ongoing."


  1. Natalie Pirks - ITV News Sport Reporter

Benitez: 'I have no problem with the board' at Chelsea

Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez entered today's press conference beaming in front of the flash bulbs.

"If you analyse carefully what I said...I said if we stick together behind the team we will get points," he said.

"I have no problems with the board, Abramovich or the players," he added.

"I would like to see a fantastic atmosphere supporting the team."

Rafael Benitez reveals plan to leave Chelsea

Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez revealed during a press conference last night that he will stand down at the end of the season.

Speaking after Chelsea's 2-0 win against Middlesbrough, Benitez said he was "disappointed" with some fans who he described as "wasting time" making negative banners instead of supporting the club.

He also revealed that he did not expect the word "interim" to be added to his title when he signed his contract:

Benitez: 'I'm disappointed with some fans'

Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez has confirmed he will leave the club at the end of the season. Credit: PA Wire

Rafael Benitez was appointed on a short-term deal in November to replace sacked Champions League-winning boss Roberto Di Matteo but was never popular with fans and results have not improved.

He said: "I have been in charge in football for 26 years. I have won the Champions League, won the FIFA Club World Cup, the FA Cup, the Italian Supper Cup, the Spanish league twice, nine trophies, all the trophies you can win at club level.

"A group of fans, they are not doing any favours for the team when they are singing and wasting time preparing banners.

"It's because someone made a mistake. They put my title (as) 'interim manager', and I will leave at the end of the season, so they don't need to waste time with me.

"They have to concentrate on supporting the team, that's what they have to do.

In the end, they are not doing any favours to the club, to the rest of the fans and to the players.

"Every game they continue singing and they continue preparing banners, they are wasting time. What they have to do is support the team.

"If we cannot achieve what we expect to achieve, that is to be in the top four and be in the Champions League for next year, I will leave; they will stay in the Europa League."

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