Toon Coach Hails 'Historic Newcastle'

Last updated : 21 June 2016 By Footy Mad - Editor

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The 43-year-old Spaniard was appointed to Benitez’s backroom staff at the start of this month, replacing Fabio Pecchia - who departed to take charge at Hellas Verona in Italy.

Antia played under Benitez for Real Madrid’s academy and at Real Valladolid, but he is excited to switch coaching at the Aspire Academy in Qatar for a place on the Newcastle bench - and he cannot wait to get to work when pre-season begins at the end of the month.

Speaking to El Diario Vasco, Antia said of linking up with Benitez at Newcastle: “I have a relationship with him from when I was coming through the ranks as a player at Madrid and Valladolid.

“That he has remembered me gives me great satisfaction because it gives me the opportunity to work with a great coach at a historic club in England.

“It’s an adventure and a challenge into which I can take a lot of enthusiasm. Newcastle, under certain circumstances, lost their [top-flight] status last year.

“So the goal is clear: to climb back into the Premier League. That’s the clear objective and we must see if we can do it. On July, pre-season starts.”

Antia will join Francisco de Miguel Moreno (fitness coach), Antonio Gomez Perez (coach), Ian Cathro (assistant coach) and Simon Smith (goalkeeper coach) on Benitez’s backroom staff at Newcastle - all of who have been confirmed as staying on for the 2016-17 Championship campaign.

When Antia was appointed earlier this month, Benitez told the club’s website: “I am delighted that Mikel is joining my staff.

“He is a very talented coach and I know he will add great expertise to my team.”