Rafael Benitez is ready to put his arm around struggling winger Kenedy.

The Brazilian has had a tough start to the new season so far.

The on-loan Chelsea winger should undoubtedly have a couple of goals to his name.

(Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

He squandered a gilt-edged chance against Tottenham Hotspur in the first game, and missed a last-gasp penalty against Cardiff City.

He didn’t feature against parent club Chelsea obviously, but returned against Nottingham Forest and played poorly once again. He was then hooked against Manchester City after 53 minutes last weekend.

His slow start has prompted Benitez to come out and defend the out-of-sorts forward.

‘He is a young player’

Speaking to Chronicle Live, the Spaniard said of Kenedy: “You are still talking about a young player.

“He came to us on loan last season and did really well.

“Everybody expected the same level from him from the first minute of the season.

(Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

“Every season is different though.

“He came back to us but you still have to understand he is a young player. He knows he has my support.

“Now he needs to work hard and deliver because if he works hard he will be OK, he has the talent and he can do well.”

Is Rafa right or time to drop?

It’s nice of Rafa to come out in defence of Kenedy.

Everybody knows what he is capable of and that has to be taken into consideration.

On his day, Kenedy is probably the most dangerous player in the Newcastle team.

It’s just about trying to get that out of him and getting him to display his ability consistently.

(Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

It’s been a very poor start, but perhaps he is the type to require an arm around the shoulder.

As Rafa says, he is a young player and benching him might destroy his confidence for later in the season.

Especially knowing that other options that can play on the wings aren’t natually as talented as he is.