Steve McClaren believes Rafa Benitez can bring success to Newcastle United

 Steve McClaren manager of Newcastle United
Image: Steve McClaren says Newcastle can blossom again

Steve McClaren has tipped Rafa Benitez to be a success at Newcastle and to bring them back into the Premier League.

But the former Magpies manager said that will only be possible because his successor is being given something he did not have - full control over all football matters.

"Management is tough wherever you are and Newcastle is probably one of the toughest places," McClaren told Sky Sports New HQ on Thursday, "but Newcastle is a great club and can be great again."

The former England manager was sacked as Newcastle boss in March after nine months in charge, with the Magpies mired in a relegation battle with Sunderland and Norwich.

Benitez was ultimately unable to steer the side away from the drop to the Championship but has agreed to stay at St James' Park after the club agreed to meet certain conditions.

Steve McClaren backs his replacement at Newcastle, Rafa Benitez to turn the club's on the field fortunes around and win promotion back to the Premier League

McClaren said giving his successor more control over football matters could be key to them returning to the top flight.

He added: "Rafa has gone in there and has got total control over the media, over staff and over recruitment which are really the three most important areas, especially as a manager.

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"They have allowed Rafa total control of the football side to go forward and get out of the Championship."

He admitted he was not in a similar position when he was at St James' Park but said he had gone to the club last summer with his "eyes open".

"Newcastle, basically have gone down because of what happened on the field," he said, adding that he would have liked to have had more time to bring success, in particular by overseeing a third transfer window to strengthen his squad.

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