Martin O'Neill's comments explain why Rafael Benitez would want Alan Judge at Newcastle United

Newcastle United Manager Rafael Benitez

The Spaniard is reportedly ready to return for the Irish attacker after making his interest known in the summer.

Rafael Benitez wasted no time in making it clear that character was just as important as quality at his Newcastle United. There was no room for money-chasing mercenaries with ideas above their station, the only way The Magpies could push for a Premier League return was if they changed their attitude as well as their players.

It was time they started running, passing and shooting for the shirt, the fans, rather than the prospect of a bigger move in an upcoming window.

“You want players who are competing and will go in there and try their best,” Benitez told The Chronicle last month.

“They have to understand they have team-mates and fans to respect.”

Newcastle United Manager Rafael Benitez

The days of the Moussa Sissokos and the Georginio Wijnaldums are over. These days, the reputations may be smaller but the hearts are bigger.

And, in prospective new signing Alan Judge, Benitez has a player he can hang his hat on.

The Chronicle claim that Newcastle could secure the signature of one of the most exciting Championship stars of 2015/16, tallying an impressive 14 goals and 12 assists for a mid-table Brentford, for £600,000 just three months after they were quoted up to £10 million.

Only a broken leg prevented Benitez from turning his initial interest into anything more concrete in the summer but, beyond the impressive statistics and eye for the spectacular, what has convinced the Spaniard that Judge is the right fit for a club who will surely playing Premier League football this time next year?

Alan Judge celebrates after scoring the first goal for Brentford from the penalty spot

We’ll let Martin O’Neill, the man who gave Judge his much-deserved Republic of Ireland debut in March, explain precisely why;

“I’ve seen a great deal of young Judge,” the experienced former Celtic boss said in quotes reported by The 42.

“He’s got great enthusiasm, wants to be in the squad, his attitude is just absolutely A1.”

We don’t know about you but, to us, that sounds precisely like the traits Rafael Benitez wants to see from his Newcastle United players.

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