In the absence of Tim Krul and Rob Elliot, newly arrived Matz Sels has won the starting position in goal over Karl Darlow, who has played many games in the Championship for Nottingham Forest.
Rafa Benitez has taken time out to talk about the new Belgium goalkeeper and how he has performed so far this season.
Matz Sels in training
Thus is what Rafa has said about Matz:
“We signed him knowing that he was the best keeper in Belgium.”
“That means sometimes a lot, sometimes it means little, because you are going to a new country, a new league, another tempo, another style of football – so you need some time to settle.”
“I think he is in the process of doing better every time. “Obviously, when you talk about a keeper, sometimes when you concede a goal it can hit confidence.”
“But he is a good worker, he is doing well and he will keep improving every week. “It depends on the games.”
“If he can make two or three saves, then that will be great, because it will give him a bit of time, and he’s doing well so far.”
“The keeper has an influence on the team, and he has to have confidence, so it’s important to give him confidence.”
Tim Krul should be starting full training with the other fit goalkeepers in about a week’s time, but his future at the club is uncertain with Rafa saying Tim could even leave the club this month if a suitable offer comes in for him.
Tim’s contract runs out next summer and it looks like the club have decided not to extend it.
If he stays on past this month, Krul will fight it out with Matz and Karl for the starting position and it wouldn’t surprise us too much if he is playing for the first team fairly soon.
Rob Elliot is due back from his ACL injury probably in November, and he will also have a fight on his hands to get the starting goalkeeper position.
We expect young Freddie Woodman to go on loan either this month or in January so he to get some first team games under his belt to help his development; he is a very promising young goalkeeper.