Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'Adam Is a Good Striker but It Is Best for Him to Go on Loan to a Club Where He Will Play Regularly' THE INTERVIEW: Rafa Benitez Q&A - Adam Armstrong and Where Next for United

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'Adam Is a Good Striker but It Is Best for Him to Go on Loan to a Club Where He Will Play Regularly' THE INTERVIEW: Rafa Benitez Q&A - Adam Armstrong and Where Next for United

Article excerpt

Byline: Lee Ryder Chief sports writer Twitter: @lee_ryder

RAFA Benitez made big calls this summer, including the decision to loan Adam Armstrong to Barnsley.

One of the key themes to come out of United's recruitment drive was the need to bring in players with experience of the Sky Bet Championship. Here, Benitez carefully explains why he brought in the players he did and how Armstrong's time will come after handing the England youth international a long-term contract.

1) Some fans are thinking Adam Armstrong would have been better staying at Newcastle but is the thinking to give him regular starts? Rafa's response: "I agree Adam is a good striker, he has good ability and it can be an exciting future for him.

"That is why we have given him a new contract because we see in the future he can be a very important player for Newcastle United.

"At the moment he is still young and with not much experience.

"The best thing for Adam's development as a player is to go on loan to a club where he will play regularly.

"With the experienced players we have in attack I cannot guarantee Adam would have the minutes on the pitch which he needs for his development.

"The bench is not a good place for a young player, it is always better the player is on the pitch, so a loan was perfect for this season.

"We have to think always about the long-term, not just the shortterm, and do what is best for the player and the club."

2) Promotion is the main aim but how many of the players signed this summer could have a job to do beyond that and will they stay on the journey? Rafa's response: "You are exactly right, promotion has to be the main focus so we had to build a team with that as the priority.

"There is no sense in building for the Premier League if it means we don't have the right players to get out of this division.

"When you look at our squad, though, there are many players in different positions who will be very good for the Premier League too.

"We will need to make some changes if we are successful at getting promotion, of course, but the foundation of a Premier League squad is already there.

"It is a good blend of players we have now."

3) Even in the first few games there have been injury problems (Aarons), does this prove you're right that strength in depth is vital? R a f a 's response: "Absolutely, we have to have strength in depth.

"We have two games a week, every few days there is a game.

"We know from experience and also from research if players are playing as many games as this they will pick up injuries.

"The research proves it is inevitable.

"So we have to do a few things.

"We have to rotate the squad.

"I have done this before at other clubs I have been at and it helps a lot to reduce the number of injuries because you can rest players and make sure they properly recover between games. …

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