Rafa took the opportunity in the friendly against CSKA Moscow on Saturday to look at his two back-up goalkeepers to Martin Dubravka, and Karl Darlow shone in the first half.
In second half young Freddie Woodman didn’t have much to do but Karl showed if required he could do a job for Newcastle this season.
Martin had made a few mistakes of late, and it’s only a big surprise because last year he didn’t seem to make any at all and his form was outstanding.
Alan Shearer is backing the 30-year-old goalkeeper to come through the tough times, and he reminds everybody what an excellent acquisition he has been.
Martin Dubravka – relaxing in the shade in Spain last week
Alan was speaking at the North East Football Writers’ Association awards night.
And the Player of the Year was ……. Martin Dubravka.
This is what Alan said to Sky Sports:
“He’s had a tough time in the last couple of games with the mistake at Wolves and the mistake at Wembley but in general I think he’s been a fantastic buy.”
“When you look at the fees that have been paid for some players.”
“His handling, for the most part, has been superb. If he can get over the mistakes that have happened in the last few games then great.”
“But in the main, I think he’s been a superb buy.”
“He seems to be a very good character, not afraid to make a couple of mistakes – as all good players do.”
“He’ll learn from those mistakes.”
Encouraging words there from the Newcastle icon.
Rafa will keep faith in the Slovakian International, and he will start the next game at home to Huddersfield.
We suspect when Martin runs out for the game against Huddersfield next Saturday afternoon he’ll get great encouragement from the Newcastle fans.
It’s in everybody’s best interests at Newcastle that Martin is at his best in these final 12 games of the season.