Ray Wilkins names the three players Rafael Benitez should build his Newcastle United team around

Aston Villa assistant coach Ray Wilkins

Newcastle United are currently the favourites to be promoted from the Championship.

Aston Villa coach Ray Wilkins before the match

Ray Wilkins has told Sky Sports News, which was broadcast on 31st May, that Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez should build his team around Jonjo Shelvey, Andros Townsend and Jack Colback next season.

Newcastle are set to play in the Championship next term, and they have immediately been installed as the favourites to win the second tier.

The Magpies have a squad packed with talent, and Benitez has been promised that he will not be forced to sell any player that he does not want to.

Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez

Wilkins believes that Newcastle still have work to do in the transfer market if they are to ensure they are promoted.

However, the former Aston Villa assistant manager believes that the bulk of the squad is already in place, and he has urged Benitez to build his side around the British players currently at St. James’ Park.

“He’s on a good batting wicket, as he’ll have the same squad that he went down with and there’s lots of good players in that squad,” Wilkins said.

“I think he’ll change players and bring in his own style of player. But he has some good English talent - especially in Shelvey and Townsend. If he can build a squad around that situation, with Colback as well, I think they will be equipped to get out of the league.”

England's Andros Townsend in action with Australia's Brad Smith

Townsend has been heavily linked with a move away from Newcastle, with a range of Premier Leagues sides interested.

Whether the winger will be tempted to leave Tyneside remains to be seen, but Shelvey and Colback are both expected to stay.

Benitez has also been given funds to spend this summer, and the likes of Lee Tomlin, Ross McCormack and Steven Caulker are all believed to be of interest.

Newcastle's Jack Colback before the game

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