Rob Elliot has headed off on international duty with the Republic of Ireland and when meeting the media, he said that with the situation at Newcastle United, ‘stepping away from that has been nice’.
Wouldn’t we all like to step away for a break from NUFC!
Elliot walked into the press briefing to be met by the news that the media had just talked to Martin O’Neill, Ireland’s Manager having just informed them that Rob Elliot and Darren Randolph would share goalkeeping duties in the two friendlies this Friday and upcoming Tuesday.
A real shot in the arm for the Newcastle keeper who has come from nowhere to be first choice at St James Park (interesting when Tim Krul comes back…) and now in with a real chance of being Ireland’s number one in France this summer.
Rob Elliot is playing every match (and getting plenty practice behind the second worst defence after Villa’s!), whereas his rival Darren Randolph has only started three Premier League games this season.
Elliot says that one of the problems at Newcastle is that there are so many young players, which is a lot to do with Mike Ashley’s transfer policy which has failed so dismally.
With Newcastle desperate to rebuild after near relegation in 2014/15, Mike Ashley yet again insisted on only young player with (hopeful) future resale value. This meant United went into this current season with five new additions: a 19 year old, two 20 year olds, a 22 year old and 24 year old Gini Wijnaldum.
Rob Elliot recounted that Rafa Benitez has already been regularly pointing out that (lack of) consistency is one of United’s big problems.
Elliot says that ‘the rest takes care of itself’ with his country if he is ‘doing it week on week’ for Newcastle, let’s hope he and his team-mates find that consistency before it is too late.
“To represent your country is always good and with the Euros coming up it’s a good chance to impress the manager.
“Any opportunities you get to impress the manager you’ve got to take. I’m just really looking forward to coming in because I haven’t been here for a while with the injury so it’s good to be back training with the boys.”
“There’s a lot going on at Newcastle at the moment and stepping away from that has been nice.
“I’m looking forward to hopefully going to the Euros and it’s a different environment catching up with all the boys I haven’t seen for a while.
“We’ve got a real good group of lads (at Newcastle) and really good people. Maybe we lack a bit of experience sometimes, we have got a lot of younger players. There’s always 100% given but we just need to make sure to be more consistent.
“Rafa Benitez has said that since he has come in as well, it is the consistency that we need to hit.
“Playing every week has given me the opportunity to be involved in the question (who will be Ireland’s first choice). That’s what I’m pleased about, that I’ve been given the chance to compete for the number one jersey.
“There’s a long way to go between now and May, June, July – I just need to make sure that I am doing it week on week and the rest takes care of itself.”