Sunday 4 December 2016

Steve McClaren takes Newcastle training as Rafa Benitez speculation intensifies

Damian Spellman

Published 10/03/2016 | 12:23

Steve McClaren arrives for Newcastle training today but Rafa Benitez is heavily linked with the club
Steve McClaren arrives for Newcastle training today but Rafa Benitez is heavily linked with the club

Newcastle head coach Steve McClaren was back on the training pitch on Thursday morning as speculation that he is to be replaced by Rafael Benitez intensified.

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The 54-year-old arrived at the club's Darsley Park training headquarters shortly after 8am with the debate over his future having entered a fifth day, and emerged to take training as usual at around 10.35am.

But, as he did so, reports from Spain suggested Benitez had agreed a three-year deal to take over the hot-seat at St James' Park.

There was no comment from the club on that, although sources on Tyneside were insistent that talk of a scheduled meeting between McClaren and managing director Lee Charnley later in the day were wide of the mark.

The pair spoke by telephone on Wednesday afternoon and McClaren headed home still in his job, but with the situation far from resolved.

However, it is understood that talks with the Benitez camp are ongoing and have progressed, although insiders were not expecting significant developments by close of play.

Nevertheless, the situation remains fluid, with Monday night's Barclays Premier League trip to Leicester looming large and the club in desperate need of points as they sit inside the relegation zone with just 10 games to go.

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