Rafa Benitez reveals the Newcastle player he thinks has England ability

England manager Gareth Southgate, Sting and Jimmy Nail in the stands
England manager Gareth Southgate, Sting and Jimmy Nail in the stands

Rafa Benitez welcomed Gareth Southgate’s appearance at St James’s Park.

The England manager watched Newcastle United’s 1-0 Premier League win over Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Jonjo Shelvey hasn’t played for his country since joining Newcastle in January last year, while Jamaal Lascelles and Isaac Hayden have never played for England at senior level.

United manager Benitez said: “I think it’s important for them the manager is here – he can see something. Sometimes, when the team isn’t playing well, it’s hard to show what you can do.

“Jonjo has the ability and the quality to see the pass and the runners.

“And if you put him with better players, he’ll be even better, because he has the quality.”

Meanwhile, Benitez believes Newcastle have shown that they belong in the Premier League after they ended the weekend in seventh in the division.

Asked if United’s players now believed they belonged back in the top flight, Benitez said: “I think they always believed that they did.

“They had that confidence after the first game. Even though we lost to Tottenham, we played with 10 men, but you could see this was a very good team.

“We could see the level. We could see how hard we worked and how organised we were.

“If you can do that, you will have chances (to be successful).

“We’ve come back from the Championship, and to be where we are in the Premier League, every fan, every player and every member of staff needs to remember that the way we have done this is by working hard and sticking together.”