For all of the good things that Rafael Benitez did during his time at Newcastle United, there will be a few people at the club who won’t have been too upset at his departure.
Chiefly, those players who the Spaniard had deemed surplus to requirements – and there were a few of them. However, him leaving the club has handed those misfits a valuable lifeline.
Specifically, Dwight Gayle, Achraf Lazaar, Rolando Aarons, Jack Colback and Henri Saivet, who The Chronicle reports the club have told to report to the first team HQ later this week rather than the Academy, where they had previously been instructed to train.
If Benitez didn’t see a future for you, he could be quite brutal about it. He’d relegated all five of those players either to loan spells away from the club or, if they were still on Tyneside, to training with the kids at the Academy.
These five players, though, will see Benitez’s departure as their final chance to save their Magpies careers. Most of them don’t have much more than a year remaining on their contracts, so they will be determined to make a big impression on whoever the new man in charge is.
Gayle, you would think, has the best chance of salvaging something from his time at St James’ Park. He is a proven goalscorer and that will always be valuable to any manager.
It will be an uphill battle for the other four men, though. Saivet and Colback are both coming back off tremendous loan spells away from the club, while Aarons and Lazaar had mixed times at Sheffield Wednesday.
Either way, though, the club welcoming them back to first team HQ demonstrates that the door is open for them to redeem themselves on Tyneside and save their stalling Newcastle careers.