Newcastle could struggle in the Championship, Asprilla warns

The Newcastle United legend is unconvinced by the club's current squad, but says Rafa Benitez is the man to lead them back to the top flight.

Newcastle United legend Faustino Asprilla has warned that the Magpies may struggle with life in the Championship, unless current boss Rafael Benitez decides to stay at St James' Park. 

The Colombian has not been afraid to voice his criticism of Newcastle's fortunes on social media in recent weeks, and is convinced the current crop of players will struggle with the demands of second-tier football. 

Saturday's 0-0 draw at Aston Villa has left Asprilla's former side on the brink of losing their top-flight status for the second time under Mike Ashley's ownership, and the Toon legend concedes that the club will need to extensively rebuild in order to compete again. 

Despite last weekend's disappointment, Newcastle are unbeaten in their last five games under current boss Benitez, and Asprilla is adamant that the former Real Madrid chief is the perfect man to help lead the club back to the Premier League

But he admits that convincing the Spaniard to stay at the club could be a difficult proposition. 

He told the Newcastle Chronicle: “If we go down will we come back up? It depends on if Rafa stays, and that is a big if. If he leaves the club will suffer."

Newcastle's last appearance in the Championship saw them promoted as champions 2010, but Asprilla is worried the current squad will struggle to replicate those heroics. 

“I don’t think we have the players to get us out of the Championship although I hope I’m wrong," he added.

“But unless things change at the top and on the pitch then my old club will be down for a few years.”

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