Rafael Benitez denies Matt Ritchie has been told he can leave Newcastle this summer
By Michael Kelleher
Last Updated: 18/04/19 9:42pm
Rafael Benitez has denied Matt Ritchie has been told he can leave Newcastle this summer after having his request for a new contract rejected.
According to reports this week, Ritchie, who turns 30 in September, asked for an extension to his current contract, which expires in 2021, but Benitez denied his request due to his age.
However the Spaniard insists he is not in a position to discuss any player's future at the club because his own contract expires this summer.
"I am not happy when I see all the stories about Ritchie because they are not true," Benitez said.
"My job is to prepare Ritchie for the next games. I cannot give any advice about the future because I finish my contract on June 30.
"It was not accurate. It was not right. It cannot [be right]. If I don't have a contract after this month, how can I say to him I want to give you a contract.
"I have had some players talking with me but I told them 'listen, you have to talk with the club not with me'.
"At the moment the only thing I can do is make sure they are fit and they are ready - that is it."
Benitez held talks with the club about a contract extension earlier this month and says he is "waiting for an answer" after laying out what it will take for him to re-sign.
"We are at the same point - no news," Benitez said. "I finish my contract on June 30. I am a professional and I have a lot of things I want to do well.
"The first one is to win against Southampton in the next game. We know that we have to maybe win another game to make sure that everything is fine and I want to focus on that so I don't like to see debates about my contract, or players leaving or me talking with anyone.
"I cannot say to anyone about his future because I don't know about my future. It is not me telling players that I will not extend your contract. It is not my responsibility at the moment.
"What I have to do is prepare the team the best way possible for the next games, starting with the next one against Southampton."