Andros Townsend admits how he really felt about Steve McClaren's exit

Steve McClaren

Newcastle's January signing reveals his regret at seeing the man who paid £12 million for him sacked less than two months later.

Newcastle United winger Andros Townsend has told the Shields Gazette that although securing Rafael Benitez's services as manager was undoubtedly a coup for the club, he was disappointed to see Steve McClaren leave the club.

Townsend was signed by McClaren from Tottenham Hotspur in a £12 million deal late in the January transfer window and impressed in his first three Premier League matches, being named man of the match in the 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion and netting a consolation in the 5-1 thrashing by Chelsea.

However, that 90 minutes at Stamford Bridge in mid-February would be the last game the 24-year-old would play under the manager who signed him, as injury ruled the winger out for a month and McClaren was sacked and replaced with Rafael Benitez just as the player returned to fitness.

Townsend admits that bringing Champions League-winning coach Benitez to St. James' Park is a big coup for the struggling club, but revealed his sadness at seeing McClaren turfed out.

He told the Gazette: "Getting Rafa Benitez to come to Newcastle just shows how big the club is. He's won everything around the world and managed the best players, so it can only be a positive for us. We can stay up this season and we can keep one of the best managers at Newcastle.

"It's been fantastic with Rafa coming in, but it's no secret I was disappointed when McClaren left. They paid a lot of money to get me here and it was Steve who put his faith in me to get me here [but] this is football, and you need to move on."

After appearing only as a second-half substitute in the 1-0 defeat to league leaders Leicester City in Benitez's first game in charge of the Magpies, Townsend was handed a first start under the Spaniard in the Tyne-Wear derby draw with Sunderland in the club's last match.

Overlooked for Roy Hodgson's England squad along with club teammate Jonjo Shelvey, Townsend will be hoping to continue in a starting role when Newcastle return to action with a pivotal game against fellow strugglers Norwich City at Carrow Road this weekend.

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