With Newcastle United’s Premier League status precarious at best speculation surrounds the immediate future of boss Rafa Benitez. For Toon legend Rob Lee – speaking exclusively for – however the situation is clear-cut.

“If they go down he is definitely not staying, there is no doubt about that. And it’s right that he doesn’t because with all due respect he doesn’t know that division. He’s got a great track record as a manager but he’s never been at a club that is in such dire straits as Newcastle. At Liverpool and Real Madrid they had very good players. Newcastle at the moment haven’t. “

If that is relatively straightforward bringing in another manager is not with the midfielder, who played for the north-east giants over 300 times during a golden era for the club, fearing his beloved black and whites may struggle to lure the biggest names considering the man presently in charge.

“I was surprised when Benitez came because do they want to work with Mike Ashley? To have their hands tied and be tarnished when they fail even though it’s not their fault because they’re not allowed to bring in players they want to bring in. I would say Steve Bruce would be a great manager for us. He’s a Geordie and he’s done a great job wherever he has been. But would he want to work where others are bringing in players who are substandard and they get you the sack?”

Read the full 888sport interview with Rob Lee here including his thoughts on why Newcastle’s players simply aren’t good enough and why Mike Ashley is to blame for Newcastle’s shortcomings