Martin Dubravka has been selected to start tonight for Slovakia at home against Croatia in their EURO qualifier.
?? TEAM NEWS:
— UEFA EURO 2020 (@UEFAEURO) September 6, 2019
We see that Marek Hamsik is in the side. Hamsik is currently playing for Rafa Benitez at Dalian Yifang. He also played for Rafa at Napoli. We wonder if Martin and Marek have swapped some Rafa stories while preparing for their two international fixtures.
Dubravka recently spoke about his former manager as well as his current one while on international duty. Tribal Football has published some of his comments. This is what he had to say:
“It would be difficult for any coach coming after Benitez because he has a name. People loved him there. Bruce was given the opportunity. It is challenging and he strives to motivate us a lot in matches and in training.”
Martin joined Newcastle on loan in January 2018. He was on the bench in his first game at Burnley but made his wonderful debut a week later against Manchester United at St James Park.
That game was Martin’s first of 54 straight starts for Newcastle United. It was also the first of his 16 clean sheets. It was quite a first impression.
Rafa Benitez was the coach who gave him his first taste of Premier League football. That has continued under Steve Bruce as Martin is easily the best keeper at the club.
Despite interest in Dubravka over the summer, he seems very happy at Newcastle as long as he is getting on the pitch. This is what he said about his current status as Newcastle’s number one keeper:
“It is important to me that my position has not changed.
“I’m continuing (to play) and I’m happy about it.
Dubravka has turned out to be some buy for Newcastle. He was bought for just £4.0M from Sparta Prague last summer. His current deal runs until 2022 but he may be in line for a raise. Dubravka has certainly proven his worth to this club.