Peter Crouch predicted Newcastle United to avoid relegation in the upcoming Premier League campaign by finishing 17th.
The former Premier League forward shared that he thought the Magpies letting Rafa Benitez go could end up being the deciding factor in whether the Magpies suffer relegation, as Crouch revealed that he knew exactly what the Spaniard could do with that team.
Crouch shared he wasn’t criticising Steve Bruce, but implied he wasn’t sure how the Magpies boss would get on.
The retired attacker then remarked on Newcastle summer signing, Joelinton, and stated that while the Brazilian is exciting the locals, he questioned whether the forward could light up the Premier League.
“The defining moment of their summer came in the last week of June. Parting company with Rafa Benitez could be the difference in deciding whether they stay up. That is no criticism of Steve Bruce but I have worked with Rafa and I know what he can do for a team,” wrote Crouch for his Daily Mail column.
“St James’ Park is such a great place to play football but they are facing the very real prospect of fans becoming disenchanted very quickly if early results do not go their way.
“Joelinton, the Brazilian they signed from Hoffenheim, is exciting locals but will he light up the Premier League?
“I have my doubts about everything. With Rafa, they were guaranteed to stay in mid-table. Bruce has the job he has always dreamed about — I hope for his sake that it doesn’t turn toxic. “
Crouch’s verdict on Newcastle is more pessimistic than optimistic as he admits that he has his doubts about everything. The former Premier League forward doesn’t want to say a bad word about Bruce, but then continues talking about him as if he is in Benitez’s shadow. This is not the most surprising opinion to hold as Benitez was a Champions League-winning manager, while Bruce’s trophy cabinet, as a manager at least, is rather bare. Also, it’s obvious that Crouch knows what Benitez was capable of doing with the Newcastle team, as he witnessed him as Magpies boss, whereas you can’t be sure how Bruce will get on. While the Magpies boss has a terrible record as a manager in the Premier League, he has lost 173 of his 392 games in charge and seen his side concede 515 goals (Source: Premier League), maybe things will be different at St James Park. After all, sometimes the stars align and with Bruce being a local lad, maybe that will somehow see him fair better in St James Park’s hot seat than expected. As for Crouch’s Joelinton remarks, he is well within his rights to doubt the Brazilian until proven otherwise. The 22-year-old may have done well last season, scoring seven goals in 25 Bundesliga outings for Hoffenheim, averaging a rating of 7.21 (Source: WhoScored), but the Premier League is a whole different beast.