25 year-old Karl Darlow did himself no harm at all when he came in for the injured Rob Elliot and played very well for us in those final eight games of last season.
With Tim Krul and Rob Elliot still recovering from their serious ACL injuries they picked up playing for their countries last season, it could be that Karl starts as our number one goalkeeper next season.
Karl has shown himself to be a good goalkeeper with a good character and a good temperament for the big time.
He could become extremely successful at Newcastle and the fans already have taken to him.
Karl Darlow and Rafa Benitez
Darlow is also realistic and has pointed out how tough the Championship is with more than 20% more games than in the Premier League, so we do need a bigger squad next season.
This is what Karl has said in the Chronicle today:
“It’s tough in there. You drop out the Premier League and go into the Championship and you are expected to bounce straight back up.”
“But so many clubs have found it difficult so we need to stick together and really grind out results week in, week out in this league.”
“It’s a tough schedule and we’ll be playing, Saturday-Tuesday, Saturday-Tuesday some weeks with cup fixtures thrown in so the squad will need to be used.”
“We must make sure we have good quality in the squad so that every game we can give the best show we can.”
“Clubs will come to St James’ Park and see it as their cup final. We need be aware of that.”
“But when you have 50,000 Geordies behind you it can be a daunting prospect for opponents. Especially if we can get on top of teams and really get at them.”
“You can see it both ways, it’s about the mindset of the opposition coming here and how they see it.”
“We know we can make this place a fortress so hopefully we can get through it and do well at home.”
“It’s football – you are always going to back to clubs you have been at before (like Nottingham Forest)” “We will just see what happens when I go there.”
“I will be excited to play against them and hopefully we can do well against them.”
Rafa made it very clear over the last two days that it’s the mindset of the Newcastle players themselves that’s the most important and not that of the opposition.
To become a good team you have to expect (and even hope for) teams trying to beat you and looking forward to the games as their top fixtures of the season.
That’s what fans and players alike thought of meeting Manchester United when Sir Alex Ferguson was the manager.
And that’s the level you need to try to reach to become a really top side and rather than think of that as a negative – it’s a positive – a big positive.
We remember when we were relegated in 2009 we were surprised to hear Alan Shearer himself bemoan the fact that every Championship side would now be trying to beat Newcastle – as though that was a disadvantage and would make things more difficult.
Our lads should be looking forward to the season and knowing that in every single game they have to produce – and try to win the game.
They will get a lot of help from a certain Rafa Benitez to do exactly that.
What do you think?