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Lee Clark: Newcastle need Rafa decision; Outstanding Drinkwater; Advice for Sheffield Utd

What you've got to do even before the season finishes is begin to plan for the future...

Because ultimately when you come to the transfer market, most of the other clubs are in for the same players that you are in for. You can't really hide the players that you are after and you need to try and get a little bit of a head-start.

For Rafa Benitez and Newcastle, it has got to be sorted one way or another. You can't go into the summer months where you don't know if the manager is staying or not. Not only transfers, but there is also preseason that needs to be planned, you need to decide on the players that you want to let go and the ones you want to keep, such as Salomon Rondon. If there's no manager in place there is no direction for these decisions.

I've worked in environments as a manager that haven't been particularly stable. During my six months at Blackpool there was strong resistance from the ownership, and I also had a situation when I was at Birmingham City where the owner Carson Yeung was put under house arrest. It's not great, let me tell you. It's difficult to keep those type of situations away from the players and let them concentrate on the playing side.

It's an uncertain period for Newcastle but I hope it works out for all parties involved. The manager has proven that he is world-class and I hope he can stay on.



NO QUESTION OF DRINKWATER QUALITY

Danny Drinkwater was an outstanding young player when I had him at Huddersfield for the 2009-2010 season.

As I said in my last column, I worked very closely with Sir Alex Ferguson in monitoring Danny's progress with us. He had tremendous passing ability, a terrific engine and that eye for a pass that only certain midfielders have.

I'm not surprised that he went on to become a Premier League winner with Leicester. I've got to say that I thought he'd get more of an opportunity with Chelsea than he has, especially considering they haven't been outstanding in the couple of years he has been there.

But hindsight is a wonderful thing. If he had his time back over I'm sure he would have picked a different option to Chelsea. I know the lad, he just wants to play. He loves football. So the last couple of years would have been a difficult period for him.

I don't think quality has let Danny down at Chelsea. I think it's the mangers that he has played under that have prevented him from getting a chance, and especially under Sarri this season, where he hasn't played at all. He doesn't fit in to the role Sarri is looking for in a midfielder and sometimes that's just the way it goes.

But when I compare him to the other midfield players that are at the football club, he is up there. You've got to remember that he is a Premier League winner and he was instrumental in that Leicester team.



COULDN'T BE HAPPIER FOR LEE PELTIER

I've been absolutely delighted to see Lee Peltier get a shot in the top-flight with Cardiff City this season. Lee played almost every game for me in the two years he was at Huddersfield. He was only a young lad then, and I know he has worked hard to forge out a good career after coming through the ranks at Liverpool.

He's an outstanding young man with a fantastic attitude and I couldn't be happier for him. I'm always happy watching players that I've worked with get an opportunity in the Premier League. I've never had any issues with any of my players and I'm extremely proud to watch them go on to bigger and better things in their careers.



ADVICE FOR SHEFFIELD UTD AND NORWICH

The biggest situation for both squads is the quality that you come up against. If you give them a mistake as a defender in League One or the Championship, you can sometimes get away with it. That doesn't happen at all in the Premier League. You get punished straight away, within seconds. Then of course the second thing is the physical aspect. Both managers need to make sure their players have a thorough and committed preseason so as they can prepare for the rigours of the top-flight.

I think both teams deserved to get promoted after they produced consistent performances throughout the season. Chris Wilder has done a magnificent job with the Blades considering where they were a few years ago. And likewise with Daniel Farke at the club where I started out as an assistant manager. Norwich is a brilliant club with a tremendous support. I'm really happy for both clubs.

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Lee Clark
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Lee Clark

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