Rafael Benítez Praises Kenedy for His ‘Maturity’ as the Midfielder Struggles for Playing Time

​Newcastle United manager Rafael Benítez has praised Kenedy for his attitude during a time in which the Brazilian has been rarely involved for the Magpies.

The Chelsea loanee has been left out of Newcastle’s match-day squad in their last two games and has not started a league game since the turn of the year.

Kenedy

Benítez said that the ​Kenedy is disappointed that he is not playing regularly but is understanding of why he has fallen down the pecking order at the club.

The Spaniard said in his pre-match press conference for Newcastle’s game against Southampton ​(as reported by The Chronicle): “Obviously, he’s not happy because he’s not playing but I think the last two or three weeks, because I had a conversation about that, he has been much, much better in terms of he’s more mature.

“He understands that others are doing well. Atsu, for example, was training really well. He has to compete for a place on the bench.”

Rafael Benitez

The versatile 23-year-old joined ​Newcastle on loan from ​Chelsea in January 2018. He produced a number of excellent performances and helped the Magpies avoid relegation last season.

He returned on-loan but has struggled this season and eventually found himself on the bench before, more recently, being left out of match-day squads altogether.  

Benítez said that it was difficult for him to change the team whilst they were doing well and that he did not expect Kenedy to be satisfied with his current situation.

“Kenedy’s fine. When a team is doing well, the players that are playing, the players that are involved in the squad, you can manage them. The players that are outside the squad, it’s always more difficult,” he added.

Kenedy,Rafael Benitez

“But I will tell you, I was talking with him yesterday, and it was a very, very good conversation, but we were not talking about the team. We were talking about things in general, his time in Brazil and his time here in England.

“He’s fine. But if you were asking me ‘is he happy?’- he cannot be happy. But he’s training well. He’s OK. He’s quite positive.

“We had a conversation for about 15 minutes about Brazil, England and the differences. All these things.”

Kenedy,Miguel Britos

Newcastle currently sit in 15th place in the Premier League, seven points clear of the relegation zone. They will look to cement their Premier League status when they host Southampton on Saturday afternoon.

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