The Magpies have begun the search for a new manager after it was announced on Monday afternoon that Benitez would leave the club having failed to agree an extension to his contract, which runs out at the end of the month.
“We are hearing Newcastle want him, that’s a little bit too high for Garry Monk,” the pundit said. “Are you telling me he is better than, or as good as, Rafael Benitez?
“He is not fit to stand in the same dugout as Benitez. He still has so much to learn, about tactics, man-management, and loyalty. Benitez is the finished article and has stayed at clubs in difficult circumstances.
“Garry Monk is gutless. He’s showed that, if there are problems at a football club, he tends to walk away or gets his agent to find him a new club.
“That’s not the way to do it. You can’t walk away from a fight. Monk did well at Birmingham last season, but he should be staying, show some loyalty to a club who gave him a job and look to do better next season.”
Whelan is exactly right with these comments. There is a decent chance that Monk will be on Newcastle’s shortlist of potential replacements for Benitez now that the Spaniard has left, but does Monk really have the pedigree to take on this job? The Magpies need a manager who can fill Benitez’s boots, someone who – despite not having much to work with – can perform extremely well in the circumstances. The last time Monk was in the Premier League, he was sacked by Swansea City. That’s not to say that that sacking is the only thing we should look at when judging Monk’s pedigree, but it does not bode well and it certainly stands out on his managerial record. Whoever Newcastle appoint, they will have to think long and hard about this decision. It is perhaps the most crucial decision in the club’s recent history and if the new boss does not do a good enough job, there will be even more angst from Newcastle fans than there is now.