Rob Elliot made his long-awaited return from his serious ACL knee injury last night and played the full game in the 4-2 win for the U23 side against Aston Villa at St. James’ Park.
Rafa has complimented Rob today on the form he showed last night and the manager says he is keen to have all three goalkeepers competing for the number one position at Newcastle, which Karl Darlow has at the moment.
Karl has been in excellent form for us this season and Rob admits it may take some time to get back into the team.
Rob Elliot – great example to the youngsters
Rob is a very popular player on Tyneside and it’s not difficult to see why, he’s just so positive and enthusiastic, as well as being realistic and down to earth.
This is what Rob said after the game last night – as reported in the Chronicle:
“It’s just nice to be back, nice to play a game and nice to get it right in my own head. I’d like to crack on now and get back closer to the first team and just put the injury behind me.”
“What’s nice is that we’ve got a team playing so well and Karl’s doing really well, so if I’m waiting my turn it’s because the team’s doing well.”
“I want to keep getting stronger and stronger with Simon Smith (goalkeeper coach) and really crack on in the New Year.”
“I just thought it was typical. I conceded just before I got injured and then I conceded again without touching the ball.”
“Still, that’s football. It’s a funny game. A year ago I was barely involved with the first team so to be back playing, back involved with the first team.”
“And having signed a long-term contract and being part of the plans I’m just delighted.”
“I can’t thank people at the club enough for supporting me and getting behind me. It’s just brilliant that we’ve got a club where they really look after you.
“Being a bit on the outside I’ve seen the shift in the club from the outside and I’m even more desperate to be part of it.”
“It’s a really good place to be and I just can’t wait to be a part of it again.”
And after the game Newcastle’s U23 manager Peter Beardsley praised Rob for his performance and especially the brilliant save he made near the end of the game.
This is what Peter said on the Newcastle website after last night’s game:
“He proved last night what a top goalkeeper he is. That save at the end was brilliant – I told him in the dressing room that I never thought the lad was going to score.”
“I always knew he was going to save it.” “He was unbelievable with the kids. His attitude from the first minute to the last, his attitude in the build up to the game, just everything about him.”
“He’s a class act.”
“He’s obviously a top keeper. His enthusiasm, his ability – when he catches the ball, he wants to make a goal. Some of the passes he played last night were great, and he’s just a pleasure to be around.”
“I told him last night that he wouldn’t be with us for long, but they’re special times when he is with us for the kids, because he’s a brilliant example.”
Whether Rob is playing in the first team or not, he will be a positive influence during our promotion drive this season and now he will concentrate 100% on getting his place back in the Newcastle first team.
That’s got to be good news for Newcastle.