Benitez: I’d like to come back to England

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It feels like a lifetime ago that Newcastle United fans were hoping and praying that Rafa Benitez would stick around on Tyneside after establishing himself as the most popular manager the Toon Army had had since Sir Bobby Robson.

The summer was a tumultuous time, and one that ultimately ended unhappily in the views of many.

Benitez departed for China, Steve Bruce was brought in, and the general expectation was that the Magpies were going to struggle this season.

Perhaps some of that gloom is just beginning to lift though. Back-to-back wins for the first time this term have seen United climb up to the dizzy heights of 13th, and somewhat incredibly, the club are just two points off fifth.

Suspicion over Bruce’s capabilities are still prevalent in some quarters, but at the very least there is an increased feeling that things might, somehow, be okay.

That being said, you can bet that if the Toon Army were given the option of seeing Rafa Benitez return to the dugout at St. James’ Park, they would bite your hand off.

And so, there will no doubt be a fair portion of supporters who will be dreaming after hearing the Spaniard’s latest comments on his plans for the future.

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, he said: “I’m here [in China], I’m happy, and I hope to do things really well, but in the future I will come back to England. My family’s there.

“I don’t want to go back right now but I would like to go in the future.”

Now obviously this is nothing concrete, and you’d have to ask if Benitez would ever be willing to work under Mike Ashley again, but maybe, just maybe, if the stars align and if the controversial businessman clears off, Rafa could come home one day in the distant future.

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