With Tim Krul and Rob Elliot looking like they would not be fit at the start of August, we thought that Karl Darlow would be in the Newcastle goal for the first game of the season and that 19 year-old Freddie Woodman would be on the bench.
That’s the way it was for the last 8 games of last season after Rob Elliot had been injured playing for Ireland at the end of March and Tim Krul has been out since last October with his ACL injury.
Karl Darlow – 25 year-old Newcastle goalkeeper
But Rafa saw that as a risk to have to play the untested Woodman if Darlow was injured.
To guard against that happening in a very important season for the club and to also increase the competition for the number one jersey he brought in the highly rated Matz Sels from Gent for £5M as Newcastle’s first transfer of the summer.
That’s the level of planning good clubs and good managers like Rafa do – and which has been missing at Newcastle for a long time.
Karl had a good game at Southend last Tuesday night in the 2-0 win and is hoping to get another run-out this afternoon when Newcastle play SBV Vitesse in our final friendly game of pre-season and the first at home.
This is what Karl has said:
“It was a different test for us against Southend. A lot of the pre-season games have been about working around the back and playing through midfield, this is a lot more route one from them, if you like.”
“We stood up to it really well. We were solid and won a lot of headers. They didn’t really trouble us, and on the breakaway we had some decent attacks and scored two very good goals.
“I knew I needed to play. It’ll stand me in good stead, hopefully, for Saturday against Vitesse.” “Then we’ll see what happens going into the season.”
“It’s (pre-season) been good for me. I’ve come back and been very good. I’ve worked hard, and I’ll keep working hard with Simon Smith.”
“Matz is good competition. We’ve got some very good goalkeepers now. It’s going to be a fight all season for who’s going to be playing.”
“When I get a chance, I just need to put my mark on a game and hopefully that’ll be enough to start the season.” “I wasn’t really expecting what happened last season.
“Attitude-wise, you really have to stick with it and grind through when you’re not playing.” “When you are playing, you need to make sure no one takes the shirt off you.”
That’s an excellent attitude shown there by Karl.
Darlow played very well last season when he came in for Rob Elliott, who himself was Newcastle’s best player last season,
With Sels, Darlow and Elliot at the club it now looks like Newcastle may sell long-serving goalkeeper Tim Krul before September.
Tim is not fully fit yet, but he was not taken to the Ireland training camp even though Rob Elliot was – and Rob was well behind Tim in recovering from his ACL knee injury.
The reports are that new Everton manager Ronald Koeman is interested in taking Tim to Goodison Park and it’s a little strange we have heard very little from Tim this pre-season.