Rafa Benítez says he will keep his promise not to walk out on Everton

Manager linked with return to his former club Newcastle to replace Steve Bruce

Rafael Benítez has said he promised Farhad Moshiri, Everton’s major shareholder, that he would not walk out on the club in the event of an approach from Newcastle’s new owners when he accepted the job at Goodison Park.

Benítez was linked with a return to his former club throughout the protracted takeover by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund but has ruled out replacing Steve Bruce if, as expected, the manager exits. The Everton manager admits Newcastle’s interest was broached during talks this summer with Moshiri, who was stung by Carlo Ancelotti’s return to Real Madrid after only 18 months at Goodison, and he assured the billionaire owner there would be no repeat.

“I don’t want to talk too much about that but, just to clarify, it is not an issue,” Benítez said of the Newcastle takeover. “The people at Newcastle knew already that I was just thinking about staying here and I told our people that they didn’t have to worry about anything because I’m happy here, working as hard as I can here and I gave my word, so that is it.

“I wish Newcastle United fans all the best because my relationship with them is good and I hope it is good forever but I’m here, I’m happy and trying to do my best and I don’t like to talk about the other option because the reality is I will stay here.”


No approach

Benítez was asked whether he or his representatives had received an approach from Newcastle’s owners since the controversial takeover. He replied: “Not really, because I was very clear from the beginning that I give my word to Everton Football Club and I am happy here so I tried to do that, to keep my word and do my best here, so no one was asking because they knew already.”

Everton have made an impressive start under Benítez and would record their highest points total after eight games of a Premier League season should they defeat David Moyes’s West Ham on Sunday.

Benítez, who will be again without the injured Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, said: “When you are coming to a new club and need to know the players you think it could be difficult, but the attitude and commitment of the players was really good from day one.

“Little by little the confidence is growing and I was not surprised because I was watching them every day and I like what I was watching. You are not expecting maybe to do so well. I have the feeling we missed a chance at Leeds, in the QPR game and then at Manchester United, so we are doing well but it could be even better.”

– Guardian