Newcastle United gives Steve McClaren the boot

Rafael Benítez is expected to take over as manager to the end of the season.

Newcastle United's English head coach Steve McClaren. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Steve McClaren has been sacked as the manager of Newcastle United, with Rafael Benítez close to succeeding him.

Benítez, a former Liverpool and Real Madrid manager, is expected to take over on an initial 10-game deal to the end of the season with a view to a three-year contract if Newcastle stay in the premier league.

According to The Guardian he's understood to be in the north-east to discuss terms and is believed to be keen to start working with the players as soon as possible.

McClaren's dismissal has been a matter of time since Saturday's home defeat by Bournemouth, which left Newcastle second bottom of the table.