Benitez’ Job At Newcastle Just Got A Lot Harder

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.

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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.

Comments welcome.

13 comments so far

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Mar 30, 2016 at 12:37 PM

    Comment #1

    His team mate Lascelles looked a bit shaky to start with as well but he is beginning to look real a real prospect.

    As I said already its up to the defense to keep his work load to a minimum.

  • Graeme

    Mar 30, 2016 at 12:43 PM

    Comment #2

    With both first team keepers crocked, does having Woodman and Darlow, upright, prevent us from seeking an emergency loan Keeper??

  • Thump

    Mar 30, 2016 at 12:44 PM

    Comment #3

    Does anybody else think Ed has a life size poster of Rafa on his bedroom wall?

  • Thump

    Mar 30, 2016 at 12:46 PM

    Comment #4

    @Graeme: yep. Same situation last season. Krul injured, Elliot injured, Alnwick picked up a knock and we had only Woodman – still didn’t qualify for an emergency loan. Go figure.

  • BeeGuy

    Mar 30, 2016 at 1:01 PM

    Comment #5

    A few goaltending mistakes in learning the position during a game and it will seal a trip to the Championship.

  • LGFUAD21

    Mar 30, 2016 at 1:05 PM

    Comment #6

    Absolutely gutted about Elliott and for him.

    He has been the only positive in this torrid season.

    I remember him coming (supposedly a Pardew pick) and the fans constantly bemoaning him not being good enough but he’s proved his doubters wrong.

    Not only is it a massive blow to us but it is to him as well given how patient he has been for his chance.

    Deserves extra credit for playing through injury too.

    As for Darlow, some reckon he’s more than capable but I cant think of at least 2 clangers he’s made in a toon shirt. Hopefully he can step in. But it’s vital he gets protection now.

    Thankfully Mbemba is back. Hopefully Janmaat will be fit and god help whoever plays left back (Anita?)

  • LGFUAD21

    Mar 30, 2016 at 1:08 PM

    Comment #7

    1Essex Geordie Bill


    Given when we signed Lascelle he was training with the full england team as part of a group of fast track players he did not impress me. He came off the back of a poor season on loan a Forrest too.

    He’s impressed me in the past couple of games though.

    The reality is, Darlow should be capable of deputising. He’s more experienced than Krul was when he came into the team.

    We’ve always had decent keepers. Lets hope we’ve picked another one in Darlow.

  • Wayayman

    Mar 30, 2016 at 1:13 PM

    Comment #8

    Darlow’s not some young inexperienced kid. He was very highly rated at Forest and played a fair few seasons for them. Granted he looked nervous when thrown in for us, but that was with McClaren’s brand of management behind him. Rafa will give this lad a confidence boost and will have him feeling a foot taller before the weekend. Remember that Elliot was actually no3 keeper at the start of this season, behind Darlow.

  • Polarboy

    Mar 30, 2016 at 1:19 PM

    Comment #9

    I would hope that Rafa’s work on our defensive shape etc. will mean that Darlow will have a lot less to do, and as a consequence have more confidence in what’s in front of him. The kid’s a good keeper, the rest of the team just need to do their jobs properly to help him through.

  • Hail Wor Ashley

    Mar 30, 2016 at 1:33 PM

    Comment #10

    Disappointed for Elliot more than anything else. One of few good stories for us this season and now his one chance of representing his country at an international tournament is in tatters. Will probably sit on the bench until his contract runs out here and then slide down the leagues, when his career before the injury was on an unexpected upward trajectory that he was obviously thoroughly enjoying.

  • martoon

    Mar 30, 2016 at 1:49 PM

    Comment #11

    I’m gutted for Elliot but I think some of you are writing his career off a bit prematurely. Unlike outfield players a lot of keepers play until their late 30’s so even if takes Elliot a year to get back to full fitness he will still have a few years left – he could be the new Steve Harper an able deputy for NUFC or he could drop down a level and play regularly for a championship team.

  • AncientC

    Mar 30, 2016 at 2:06 PM

    Comment #12

    Elliot is easily the most injury prone 2nd choice goalkeeper the club has had, in my years of following the club.

    Every 3 or 4 weeks they are patching him up and putting him to bed with a cup of cocoa. Okay, Elliot has done well in the games he has played, but he is unreliable as a number 2.

    Elliot needed to be cleared out at the end of the season, if he can’t stay able bodied when needed to cover as a number 2, how would he do as first choice?

    Krul has 12 months left on his deal at the end of the season. Elliot should be moving on this summber, but he is injured and somebody had the bright idea of giving him a contract until 2019!

    We are lumbered with Elliot, so it looks like nothing much is going to change in the goalkeeping department. The club will not get much for Krul – coming back from injury and 12 months left on his deal, so Krul will be given a new contract.

    Whichever division we are in next season, we will be starting it nursing Krul back to form, with Elliot in the fitness room attempting to get fit for when Krul breaks down again. The seat on the exercise bike in the gym will rarely get cold , with the pair of cripples we call goalkeepers jockeying for ‘fitness’.

    Have you ever seen such a sham. (This is only the goalkeepers, where do you start on the other 10 positions)

  • ArtyH

    Mar 30, 2016 at 4:04 PM

    Comment #13

    Pity we couldn’t have secured the deal for that lad out of favour at Manure, but there again it would have taken a decent board to make the correct decision back then, and they dropped a few b*ll*cks over the last few windows. The more I think of our situation the more I hate the owner and the board of this club. I just wish the club was up for sale and bought by a consortium/group.person who cared about football and not just about profit and coverage for business. 🙁


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