The pundit made the remarks when discussing the Magpies’ squad following transfer deadline day, and couldn’t help but take a dig at Benitez it seems.
“This squad of players isn’t as bad as Benitez made us believe,” said Sherwood on Sky Sports’ The Debate (Sky Sports Main Event, 22:52, Thursday, August 8th)
There are several reasons why Sherwood’s remarks will cause a stir, firstly Benitez was popular at St James Park after he guided the Magpies to two comfortable finishes in the Premier League and Championship glory.
Sherwood’s remarks seem like a clear dig at the Spanish boss as he implies that Benitez misled everyone about how good his squad was in order to make his achievements look better.
That’s kind of a big accusation to make as it seems to be the pundit’s way of undermining the job Benitez did at St James Park.
Also while Benitez appeared to want players adding to his squad in the transfer market, he once dramatically claimed he needed to rotate due to not having any players on the same level as Lionel Messi (Source: The Chronicle) to prove his point, he more often than not built his squad up.
For example, the Newcastle boss publicly defended Javier Manquillo, as covered by the Chronicle, after the 0-0 draw with Cardiff City due to Jamie Carragher rightly stating that the Spanish full-back needed to be hauled off at half-time.
Benitez could have easily thrown Manquillo under the bus if he wanted everyone to think his squad was worse than it was, by berating his lack of options, but he didn’t.
Another reason why Sherwood’s claim will turn heads, is Benitez utilised Joselu, Mohamed Diame, and Jacob Murphy, last season and all three were pushed out the door by Steve Bruce, granted Murphy on loan, due to not being in his plans.
Yet the trio were all deemed good enough by Benitez for at least a few opportunities for the first-team last season.
The other reason why Sherwood’s claim is questionable, just look at the number of signings Newcastle made this summer.
The Magpies welcomed Joelinton, Jetro Williams, Kyle Scott, Jake Turner, Emil Kraft, Allan Saint-Maximin and Andy Carroll, and that’s a lot of signings to make for a squad that Sherwood believes Benitez undersold last season.
So with all that in mind, you have to think Sherwood made his remarks to get a reaction as there’s no way he can really think that.