Tony Cascarino makes bold claim about what Benitez could achieve at Newcastle next season

Rafa Benitez 3

Tony Cascarino is backing Rafael Benitez for big things at Newcastle.

Pundit Tony Cascarino has told The Irish Sun that he thinks Rafael Benitez could achieve Europa League qualification at Newcastle United - if he keeps them up this season.

Benitez, 55, was appointed Newcastle boss earlier this month following the departure of Steve McClaren, but he is still searching for his first win as Magpies manager.

A 1-0 defeat at Leicester City was followed up with a 1-1 home draw against Sunderland on Sunday afternoon, leaving Newcastle still in the bottom three and running out of time to save themselves from relegation.

Former Liverpool, Inter Milan, Chelsea, Napoli and Real Madrid boss Benitez - who won the Champions League during his time with Liverpool - is seen as a major appointment for Newcastle considering his reputation in football, and his arrival on Tyneside has given fans a buzz of excitement once again.

Still, keeping Newcastle in the Premier League is a tough task for the Spaniard, but that hasn't stopped some bold claims about what he could achieve at St. James' Park.

Tony Cascarino, the former Aston Villa, Chelsea and Celtic striker and current pundit, has told The Irish Sun that he thinks Benitez will enjoy great success with Newcastle once he is able to bring in his own players, stating that he could become a club hero in time.

Cascarino also suggested that Benitez could even take Newcastle into the Europa League next season, of course on the basis that he manages to keep the club in the Premier League this season.

"You can see Newcastle climbing the table fast next season when Benitez brings in his own players," said Cascarino. "The Toon Army could be challenging for Europa League qualification next term though it might be a push to go any higher than that."

"But if Benitez can bring silverware to St James’ Park, he will be a hero. And I’m led to believe that it was the uniqueness of Newcastle as a club that he found attractive," he added.

Do you think Benitez can keep Newcastle up?

Register for NEWCASTLE UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch