The Magpies manager is only contracted to the Premier League club until the end of June.

Newcastle United captain Jamaal Lascelles has spoken highly of manager Rafael Benitez, talking up his record and insisting that the players “need” a manager like him.

The 59-year-old is a Toon Army fan favourite for the great work he has done with a modest squad and low budget but there are concerns over his future at St James’ Park.

Benitez, whose contract expires on 30 June, is expected to hold talks with Newcastle owner Mike Ashley later this week to discuss his future, and needless to say many Magpies fans are following the situation very closely.

Should the Spaniard leave Tyneside, there would be a sense that the club would have let one of the greatest managers in its recent history walk away and there would likely be questions over whether any lesser-heralded successor could even keep the team up.

Lascelles made it very clear how much Benitez is respected by the Newcastle players and the board should bear in mind just how much support, from fans and players alike, is behind the Champions League winner, and to back him appropriately.

“It’s important as players we had someone like that,” the skipper told Chronicle Live. “He dug us out of a bad situation. He’s a perfectionist; even in training everything has to be right.

“The players think the same [as the fans]. We all want him to stay. Since he has been here, he’s been great. Hopefully we can sort some business out and tie him down. We don’t have a clue whether he’s staying or going. It’s not down to us, but hopefully he stays.”

Benitez led Newcastle back up to the Premier League at the first attempt in 2016-17, before registering 10th and 13th-placed finishes in consecutive Premier League seasons despite having to work on a budget and making the most of a relatively limited squad.

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