Date: 25th June 2019 at 8:00am
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Ashes winner and giant Newcastle United supporter Steve Harmison has named three former Premier League players he’d like to see replace Rafael Benitez at St James’ Park.

It was announced on Monday that the Spaniard will be leaving the club when his contract expires at the end of this month, and Harmison has three names he wouldn’t be averse to.

“On the list you’ve got Mikel Arteta, Patrick Vieira – there’s no way Sean Dyche or Eddie Howe are going to leave their clubs to come,” he told talkSPORT [25/06; 06:54]. “For me it would be between Arteta and Vieira, for a young manager coming through.

“I’ll chuck another one in who used to play for Newcastle. He took Charlton from second bottom, galvanised the club, played decent football, got them into the Championship; and that would be someone like Lee Bowyer, who knows the club.”

OPINION

This is an interesting one from Harmison. Obviously whoever comes in and replaces Benitez is going to be facing a massive uphill task. How can you take the place of someone who was universally adored by supporters and players alike. It’s going to be immensely difficult for whoever it is. Having said that, a young, ambitious manager is probably the club’s best bet in terms of placating the supporters. Arteta has established a fine reputation for himself as a young coach at Manchester City, where he’s obviously working with one of the finest managers in the world. Vieira, meanwhile, is more proven at managerial level. He did well with New York City FC, while he produced a solid season at the helm of OGC Nice in Ligue 1 this campaign. He wouldn’t be a bad option. Then there’s Bowyer, who has the advantage of being a former Magpies player. He was worked wonders at The Valley, but you worry that this would be too big of a step up for him.