New signing Matz Sels is a little bit like his new manager Rafa Benitez – he played in the Champions League last season and is now at Newcastle in the Championship – England’s second division.
Rafa was managing Real Madrid for the first half of last season – they went on to win the Champions League for the second time in two years and 11th time in total last month – and now Rafa is managing Newcastle in the Championship.
Matz Sels while at Gent
It seems the 24 year-old goalkeeper listened to Rafa’s ambitions for the new Newcastle United and then rather quickly decided to join the north-east club.
Other Premier League clubs like Champions Leicester City and Southampton were also in for the Belgium U21 goalkeeper.
Matz has said he’s heard the Newcastle fans are a little bit crazy – what???
But then he admits so is he – and that he’s looking forward to playing in front of over 50,000 mad screaming Geordies next season.
This is some of what Matz said yesterday:
“English football is maybe the best competition in the world, and everybody followed the English competitions in Belgium.”
“I followed it last year as well, and it’s a great competition. That’s why it made my choice really easy, to choose England.”
“I talked with Rafa Benitez, and he gave me the impression that we wanted to go up immediately again. It gave me the feeling that I should sign for Newcastle, and it’s a big club.”
“A few years ago they played in Belgium in the Europa League, so that means that you’re a good club.”
“It’s a challenge, but if you want to improve, you have to make steps. This, for me, is the perfect step to improve and to be a better player.”
“The most important thing is getting to play there (St. James’ Park) every two weeks, in a fantastic stadium for a fantastic crowd,”
“I hear the supporters are a little bit crazy, so I’m looking forward to playing for them.”
“I’ve played in the Champions League, so I’ve already played a few times in front of a lot of people, but it’s incredible to play every week in front of 50,000 people.”
“I’m looking forward to playing for them.”
“I was always a goalkeeper,” “I started playing football when I was five years old, and even then I was a goalkeeper.”
“I think, to be a goalkeeper, you have to be a little bit crazy, and maybe I’m a little bit crazy also! It’s normal I think – every goalkeeper is a little bit crazy.”
In his interview with nufcTV yesterday, Matz came across as being very ambitious, very confident and very professional with an excellent attitude.
But he’ll have to fight it out initially with Karl Darlow for the number one jersey at Newcastle and then Rob Elliot, once Rob is fit towards the end of the year.
It’s expected Tim Krul will now leave the club this summer – after 11 years on Tyneside – probably to Everton.