Opportunity is everything for a football player and Rob Elliot has grasped his with both hands/gloves this season.
Never showing anything previously that suggested he was anywhere close to being a Premier League goalkeeper, the former Charlton player looked definitely on his way out of St James Park, with nobody sorry to see him go.
However, now in the middle of easily his longest stretch in goal for Newcastle, Rob Elliot has shown previously well hidden talents.
Though still not the quickest on his feet, his shot stopping and dealing with crosses have been impressive.
With Karl Darlow having been bought in as number two it appeared to confirm Rob Elliot’s departure but Elliot’s form and Darlow looking a bag of nerves on his only appearance at West Brom. Newcastle fans will be getting very nervous if anything happens to the current first choice keeper this season.
His surprising club form has also opened up other possibilities with a place in the Republic of Ireland squad up for grabs for the Euros in France, even the possibility of ending up as number one for his country.
Alan Kelly played in goal for the Republic of Ireland and was also goalkeeping coach until Martin O’Neill took over, now he has been assessing the goalkeeping choices for this summer and sees Rob Elliot having put himself in a great position with his form for Newcastle.
Rob Elliot has only made one start so far for Ireland and two substitute appearances, all in 2014, but maybe that is set to change…
Speaking to the Herald in Ireland, Alan Kelly:
“You have five keepers fighting for three spots and it’s an extremely difficult position, for them and for the manager. I think Martin will have a large training squad going into all the friendlies so everyone can prove themselves but it will go down to the wire.
“All five have experience, whether that’s 133 caps like Shay Given or Premier League experience like Rob Elliot.
“What Rob is doing now is putting himself in the window, week in week out in the Premier League. He is proving himself on a weekly basis so he can come in and make his case for the Euros.
“Ok, he lacks international experience but he’s getting the man of the match award every second week, playing against some of the best players in the world every week, if he can do it at that level, he’s entitled to ask if he can also do it at international level.
“Martin will look very closely at the games in March and then in May, I think he will leave it as late as that to make a call. As a goalkeeping coach, you offer your opinion, you provide the evidence why you would pick someone, but the manager might just have a hunch and make the call.”