Rafa Benitez has what it takes to keep Newcastle up, says Kevin Keegan

Former Toon boss believes the Spaniard is an excellent appointment

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The Independent Football

Former Newcastle United manager Kevin Keegan believes new boss Rafael Benitez will be able to keep the club in the Premier League.

Keegan, the former England manager and winner of successive Ballon d'Ors as a player, is a hugely popular figure on Tyneside after playing for the club at the end of his career and for two spells in charge in the 1990s and 2008.

The 65-year-old, who almost led Newcastle to the Premier League title in 1996, believes that Benitez has what it takes to beat the drop.

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Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez

"It’s a really good appointment. He will keep them up but it won’t be easy," he told the Newcastle Chronicle. "They have got some home games that are winnable. This break is pretty good for him because it gives him a lot of time to work with players but of course a lot of the players will be away so in some ways it is a double whammy."

Keegan also had his say on former manager Steve McClaren and picked the three clubs he thinks will go down.

"I think Newcastle were going down without making the change, to be honest, with the greatest respect to Steve McClaren,” he added. “I have looked at the fixtures, and they have got to win these home games. Anything they get away from home, like at Norwich and teams around them, will be a bonus.

"It looks to me like Norwich, Aston Villa and either Sunderland or Newcastle are going to go down."

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