Former Newcastle United defender Steve Howey thinks Rafael Benitez could end up managing in the Championship if he is not careful at the Tyneside club.

Benitez has been appointed as Newcastle boss in succession to Steve McClaren on a three-year deal, though it has been reported his contract contains a get-out clause in the event the Magpies go down.

McClaren left the Magpies in 19th position in the Premier League with just 24 points from 28 outings, with the club losing seven of their last seven Premier League outings.

Newcastle’s arch-rivals Sunderland have found themselves in similar situations in the last few seasons, but the Black Cats have managed to avoid the drop by changing their managers.

And Howey, who feels Newcastle could also follow in the footsteps of Sunderland, however, insisted that managing the St James’ Park outfit will be a different kind of assignment for the former Real Madrid and Liverpool boss Benitez.


"Benitez could be a fans’ favourite straight away", Howey told BBC Radio 5 live.

"Sunderland seem to have done it in the last couple of seasons, changing their manager and getting a positive result. He’s got a fantastic track record, but it’s a big contrast for him.

"It’s not that long since he was manager of Real Madrid and if things don’t go well he could be playing on a horrible, windy wet midweek game down at MK Dons."

Newcastle are next up against Premier League leaders Leicester City on Monday.