One of Benitez's closest allies outlines what the Spaniard will bring to Newcastle United

St James Park

Former Liverpool winger Boudewijn Zenden played under Rafa Benitez for two seasons at Anfield.

Rafa Benitez will make Newcastle hard to beat if he is appointed as Steve McClaren's successor, according to Boudewijn Zenden.

The Daily Mail report that Benitez, who was sacked by Real Madrid in January, will replace the sacked for England boss on Friday, and is set to be in charge of Monday's daunting trip to Premier League leaders Leicester City.

Should the speculation prove accurate, the Spaniard will have ten games in which to save the Magpies from relegation.

And Zenden, who played under McClaren and Benitez at Middlesbrough and Liverpool respectively and coached alongside him at Chelsea, suggested Benitez will leave no stone unturned as he attempts to mastermind their escape from the drop.

"If you're asking me what kind of manager Benitez is, I can say to you that he's a manager who's very much on the details trying to set up his team, trying to make them a team that is hard to beat," Zenden told TalkSPORT on Friday morning.

"As you've seen in the past, he's had his critics for not playing offensively, but then again at the teams where he's been they've still managed to score many, many goals - sometimes even the most out of the league.

"But the set up is maybe less spectacular than you might expect from some of those teams."

Benitez, who the Mail claim will sign a three-year deal on Tyneside, was relegated with Spanish side Extremadura in 1999, but is something of a stranger to relegation battles. 

Positively though, the 55-year-old has two promotions on his CV and an excellent track record in cup competitions, winning the Champions League and FA Cup with Liverpool, the UEFA Cup with Valencia and Chelsea, and the Coppa Italia with Napoli.

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