Newcastle's Mikel Merino Praises 'Nice Guy' Rafael Benitez After Impressive Start to Season

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Newcastle United midfielder Mikel Merino has paid tribute to his manager Rafael Benitez for his man-management skills, following his summer move from Borussia Dortmund. 

In a recent interview with The Guardian, the Spanish U21 international cites the influence that Benitez has had on him as the reason behind his impressive start to life on Tyneside.


Merino stated: "He looks after the small tactical details and teaches you how every single little thing can be important.

"In training he's very professional and expects you to be completely focused, but off the pitch Rafa's a really nice guy. He always takes care of you."

The 21-year-old has appeared in all nine Premier League games for Newcastle this season, which saw Mike Ashley part with £7m to make Merino's loan move from Dortmund permanent. 

While Newcastle sit 7th going into this weekend's fixtures, Merino was also quick to praise his teammates as a significant factor for their start to the Premier League season. 

He continued, saying: "We're a young squad and the most important thing is that we all trust each other.

"I'm learning a lot from Rafa. I always had ability to read games but I'm understanding more now."


Merino scored his first goal for Newcastle in his side's fortunate 1-0 win against Crystal Palace in their most recent Premier League fixture, and now sets his sights on breaking into the Spanish national team, believing he is capable of doing so whilst plying his trade at St James' Park. 

Asked if he thought he could, he replied: "I think I can achieve that playing for Newcastle; why not?"