Mike Ashley wants Rafael Benitez to remain in charge at Newcastle

Newcastle United fans at St James' Park

Redknapp was pleased to see him start but has demanded the England worldwide proves himself in pre-season to whoever is in charge at Chelsea.

Ashley promised to back Benitez with "every penny generated by the club".

Ross Barkley had the opportunity to reduce the deficit which was blocked before the Spaniard was on hand to seal the win for Newcastle and ensure Chelsea would not be competing in the Champions League next season.

The billionaire - who wants United's manager to sign a new deal - made a similar pledge previous year.

Asked if he is expecting a summer bid for the central defender, who will line up against Chelsea on Sunday, Benitez said: "We are talking about a young centre-back, a young English centre-back".

Former Newcastle striker Alan Shearer reacted to Ashley's statement on Match of the Day.


But Shearer is not convinced that Ashley's words are any different from what he stated previous year. "It's exactly the same thing".

Lascelles would likely attract a few more suitors if he were to make the England squad heading to World Cup 2018, but he has cast doubt over his potential involvement in Russian Federation despite calls for Gareth Southgate to give him a chance.

Benitez insists he would like to remain in his current role, but he does not want to spend next season battling in the bottom half of the table.

He has made pledges of financial support in the past, only for Benitez to be left frustrated as a succession of transfer moves broke down.

He said: "I think this week, maybe there will be another conversation and we will see where we are for the next week". He's got Newcastle into 10th position.

"You need to be sure you have competition, and enough levels within the squad to make sure you can approach any game thinking you can win".

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