Martin Dubravka was interviewed by BBC Radio 5Live and his comments have been published by the Chronicle in full this morning.
A few of the passages we found interesting were when Martin addressed the arrival of Steve Bruce and the issue of fan unrest ahead of the Arsenal match.
This is what our Slovakian keeper said about the if players were upset with the departure of Rafa Benitez.
“It depends on which player. Obviously, Rafael Benitez brought me here to England so I can only say positive things.
“Some of the players didn’t play when he was here so they were probably more happy that they had the chance to show themselves in front of another coach.”
Well, you can’t argue with anything Martin has said here. He is very diplomatic in his words but this is an honest assessment. Though, it does not look like many of the players who didn’t play under Rafa Benitez will get much of an opportunity under Steve Bruce.
Other than Jonjo Shelvey who really only missed out due to his thigh injury and Javier Manquillo who finished the season while DeAndre Yedlin was injured, there’s really no other player who is likely to feature more under Steve Bruce.
It will be interesting to see how much Dwight Gayle gets into the first eleven. With the arrival of Andy Carroll, that will limit some opportunities for Gayle once the big man is fit and ready to go.
About Steve Bruce’s impact on the squad, this is what Dubravka has said.
“For me, Steve Bruce is the first English manager I have had so it is a new experience in my life.
“What I have noticed is that the guys are trying to work really hard. I can’t say that wasn’t the case before but obviously, there were some players in the starting line-up every week and they wouldn’t need to show themselves that hard but now everybody is in the same line and they can show themselves.
“They have some minutes on the pitch so it is great to see they are trying to push each other.
“It is a great impulse but the season will show us where we actually are.”
This is to be expected when a new manager comes in and the slate is wiped clean. All players will be on alert and feel they have to prove themselves to the new staff.
Again, it doesn’t look like many of those who were out on loan under Rafa Benitez are going to have much of a change of fortune under Bruce. We have seen Jacob Murphy already go on loan to Sheffield Wednesday and Achraf Lazaar fly to Italy to try and get a loan deal done. Once the squad is announced we would assume most of those out on loan last season will not be part of this season’s squad either.
Then Martin addresses the fan unrest and the potential boycott that has been brewing for some time.
“It is hard for us as football players because you can’t stay on both sides.
“You have your opinion but the only thing we can do is to show it on the pitch. The only thing we can do for our fans and our club is to fight for every point, every duel.
“I know they expect sometimes for us to get behind them as well but obviously it is impossible.
“If you are standing with some of the fans that are negative you can’t stand behind them.
“There is also your private life, your career. I received some messages saying I should speak with my team-mates and make a boycott. This is impossible.
“What I would really like to do is play football and enjoy that every week. I am trying to do everything for this club and everything for these fans to make them proud and that is the only thing we can do.
“Still stay behind us and let us show you that we can still put this club high in the table because we have some quality.
“This is a big club that deserves to be much higher in the table.”
We feel that these comments by Dubravka are pitch-perfect under the circumstances. He seems to understand the situation but also what his role is as a professional. As a player, he wants the fans to be happy but still knows that it’s the results that ultimately are what matters. All he can control is his preparation and performance on the pitch.
Martin has grown into such a leader and is of such massive importance to this squad. What a signing he has been.