Rafa Benitez was always going to be asked the Matz Sels question at today’s pre-Norwich press conference.
The Belgian keeper has dominated talk after the draw at Villa, both due to his performance on the day and the fact that he then took down his Twitter account because of abuse from Newcastle ‘supporters’.
Whilst the criticism by many was over the top, there is a question there for Rafa Benitez to answer.
Having rotated his team in pretty much every other position, or at least ‘rested’ players, including Captain Jamaal Lascelles, for the odd game. Matz Sels is obviously going to come under scrutiny as he has clearly struggled to get to grips with the physicality of the Championship – especially high balls into the penalty area.
Rafa was never going to give a definitive answer today on the question but at least he didn’t dodge it, as would have probably been the case with previous managers.
The Newcastle Manager backing Matz Sels to have a ‘great future’ but accepting that he has done better in some games than others.
Benitez also credited Karl Darlow with having put pressure on Sels, saying that every player in the squad who is out of the team needs to do that.
Darlow has kept clean sheets in the two League Cup matches and going back into last season in the Premier League, the former Forest keeper has conceded only one goal (v Tottenham) in the past nine hours of first team football that he has played.
Having said that, Sels has still only conceded seven goals in nine Championship matches.
As for who will play against Norwich? Rafa says he will decide that tomorrow (Wednesday).
“Matz Sels is fine, a young lad coming to a new country, some games he has done well and some games he could improve – but he has a great future.
“Karl Darlow has done well in the cup games and we will decide tomorrow, I told them (the players) that they have to put me under pressure.”