Every player who ever played under Rafa Benitez at Liverpool said the Spaniard was never the warmest!
But to a man, they rated his tactical intelligence and what’s quite strange is that he still built up a wonderful rapport with the fans – much like he did at Newcastle as well.
Glen Johnson has claimed that although he ‘loved’ Benitez, he was the ‘worst man-manager’ he’d worked under.
The right-back was a big signing under Benitez back in 2009, and the England international went on to make 200 appearances in red.
“The best man-manager I played under was definitely Harry Redknapp,” Johnson replied when asked on talkSPORT.
“He was like one of the lads, I had him texting me his comments about horses when I’ve been at the racing – he’s liked to see the boys enjoy themselves.
“But the worst? Hmm… I’d probably say Benitez, but it’s a difficult one, because he was good and the worst at the same time.
“He never tries to be your friend, that’s what I mean by saying he’s probably the worst man-manager, but he does it in a clever way.
“Whereas Harry would be your mate and get the best out of you that way, Benitez would get the best out of you by not being your friend.
“It’s also why I loved him. He used to go to work, he knew how to deal with certain people but he didn’t do it in a friendly way with an arm around you.
“He would bring Torres off at the end of a game and everyone would be saying to Fernando, ‘well done for scoring a hat-trick’, and Benitez would walk past and say, ‘yeah but you should have scored four’.
“He’d just shut him down and say: ‘Don’t be pleased with three’
“He would get the best out of you by knowing what to say and when to say it, as opposed to having a joke with you.
“It’s not a negative about Benitez, I loved Benitez, he just does things in a different way.”
Johnson was decent going forward, but often regarded as a defensive liability and not someone who should come into consideration when discussing our greatest right-backs.
Benitez currently works in China, but we imagine he’ll return to Europe again at some point.
We even think there’s a possibility of Newcastle rehiring him should their big-money takeover go through – which would be interesting to see him in charge of a club with a blank chequebook.