With Newcastle United, bad luck and crisis are never far away, and so it proved last night as one of our best performing players all season – goalkeeper Rob Elliot – was stretchered off in Dublin after 15 minutes with what looks like a serious knee injury – possibly an ACL injury.
I was watching the England – Netherlands game worrying in case Gini Wijnaldum would get injured – when my son phoned with the bad news – it’s just the worst news possible for Newcastle – is how Neil phrased it before he told me of Rob’s serious knee injury.
Sky Sports News is now reporting Rob’s out for at least six months and that’s at least the time an ACL knee injury takes to repair – it’s going to be a long road back for Rob Elliot for sure.
And with Tim Krul also injured – and he may not be ready for the start of the season – Newcastle may even be forced to bring in a goalkeeper this summer.
Rob Elliot – it looked really bad by Rob’s reaction – head in hands
With Rob Elliot now out for the final eight games of the season, Rafa Benitez’ job of saving Newcastle just got an awful lot harder.
We are interested to see what Rafa says today – and of course he will as positive as he can about it – and now it’s up to Karl Darlow to play well for Newcastle in the final eight games of the season.
It’s a great opportunity for Karl and that’s the right way to look at it.
When Karl made his debut in the league at West Brom on 28th December he looked a bundle of nerves in the early going – and he was at fault a bit for their goal in the second half.
But on the positive side of things, he did make some very good saves he’s a good goalkeeper and it’s a huge challenge for Benitez to get him playing solidly for us in the Newcastle goal.
We suppose these things happen in football, but it’s annoying that Rob was injured in one of these International friendlies, which are starting to become a liability for Premier League and other clubs.
We send away our very best players off during the International breaks and too often they come back crocked – in the case of both our goalkeepers this season – they have come back seriously injured and both out for at least six months.
Tim Krul has already been out for six months so far – and there’s no telling when he will be fully fit again – hopefully by pre-season.
But make no mistake, this is a huge test of Rafa Benitez’ coaching, man-management skills and strong personality, and it’s starting to look very difficult for Newcastle to survive the drop.
But if anybody can do it – it’s the confident and enormously experienced Rafa Benitez – and he will continue to get the full support of Newcastle fans everywhere.
We expect him to come out today and tell everybody that he thinks Newcastle will still survive this season – in spite of Rob’s terrible luck last night.
Rafa wants to win every one of the remaining eight games – and he will be convincing our players they can do it.
And yes – it’s still possible we can do it – and if we do survive then all credit has to go to Rafa Benitez who has already become an instant hero on Tyneside.
If that happens Mike Ashley should hand over all power to Rafa Benitez and have him appoint a Managing Director and Chief Scout he can work with – and the three of them should be part of the Newcastle Board.
Newcastle will then be in very good hands, which will be a lot different than we’ve been over the last several seasons fighting against relegation, with people in charge who don’t know what they are doing.
And that’s being kind.