Rob Lee issues furious indictment of Newcastle players, compares them unfavourably with last relegated squad

The ex-midfielder says the club is worse off than when it was last relegated as it is full of players who will not want to play in the Championship.

Former Newcastle United midfielder Rob Lee has launched a scathing attack on the Magpies players, telling 888sport that the club will not be able to replicate it's bounce-back success in the Championship of 2010 if they are relegated.

Rafael Benitez's side have shown signs of life in the last week by earning four points from their last two matches against Swansea City and Manchester City.

That has seen them close the gap on safety to just two points with four matches of the season remaining and has injected some optimism that the club may yet have what it takes to avoid the trapdoor.

However, that has not stopped former Magpies midfield hero Rob Lee giving a damning assessment of the club's players, whom he claims are mercenaries who do not want to play for the club when times get tough.

The 50-year-old told 888sport: "We have players we signed for the sell-on value and they’re not good enough for Newcastle United and don’t really want to be there. They’re using Newcastle as a stepping stone which is a shame because it’s a huge club. They should be desperate to play in front of the passionate Geordies.

"We need a spine of British players who know the history of Newcastle and want to play for Newcastle. Instead we have players who want to play in the Premier League then realise it’s cold. But if you put a Newcastle shirt on you have to give 100%. Can players say they have done that week in, week out? I don’t think so."

Lee thinks that issue will take a heavy toll if the club are relegated this season, as he does not believe the current squad have the stomach possessed by the class of 2010, who lifted the club back into the Premier League at the first time of asking, losing just four Championship matches all season.

When asked if he felt the current side could replicate that achievement, Lee responded: "No, because last time we got relegated we had players like Joey Barton and Kevin Nolan and players of that ilk. I look around now and we’ve got players who will not want to play in that division. If they’re made to stay they won’t want to play.

"You’d have thought they would definitely lose a lot of players but you look at the players they’d lose and they are players who haven’t performed. Sissoko won’t want to play in that division nor will Wijnaldum nor Mitrovic but these are the players who have put us where we are."

Newcastle continue their fight for survival against in-form Liverpool at Anfield this weekend.

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