Karl Darlow has been one of the pleasant surprises this season in that he has performed a lot better than we expected.
Maybe it shouldn’t be that much of a surprise, after he came in over the last eight games of last season when Rob Elliot was injured and performed so well for us and that penalty save against Crystal Palace and Yohan Cabaye was fabulous.
The 26-year-old was second choice to newcomer Matz Sels at the start of the season which was a surprise, but he came in after the Aston Villa 1-1 draw and he’s never looked back and put in some fine performances for the team and played in every single Championship game since then.
Rafa Benitez and Karl Darlow in training
In fact he has been one of our best players this season and all credit goes to the former Nottingham Forest player for the professionalism he has shown.
Karl showed he was human (damn it) when he made huge mistakes against both Norwich City and Bristol City which cost us points.
But he also showed his strong character and excellent temperament in being able to keep his confidence and recover from those embarrassing mistakes.
This is what Karl has said about his manager today in the Chronicle:
“I think it shows he’s got faith in me, which is nice.”
“There have been one or two mistakes here or there, which I think you’re going to have as a goalkeeper over the course of the season.”
“I’m not dwelling on one or two mistakes when I’ve continued to perform well throughout the season.”
“As long as we finish the season off well, I can say I’ve had a good season here and that’s the main thing for me personally.”
“The standard of the goalkeeping every day is excellent with Simon Smith, the goalkeeping coach.”
“We have a great set of goalies, and you’ve got to carry on performing to regain that spot. It’s the same in every position.”
“One of the reasons we’ve done so well this season is that no one’s taken their foot off the gas and thought: ‘I’m in this position and I’m set for the season.’”
“It’s kept a very high quality throughout the season.” “Everyone’s ambitious and wants to play.”
“Rob’s back from injury and he’s a terrific goalkeeper.” “He was unbelievable for us last year.” “He’s obviously getting better and fitter.”
“For me, I’ve just got to carry on playing and do well. I can only take care of what I do.”
Those are really good comments from Karl and it shows the team spirit at the club and the fact that every player wants the team to do well.
It’s the polar opposite of what things were like last season under Steve McClaren and shows what a great man-manager Rafa Benitez is.
Long may he remain as the Newcastle United manager.