Matz Sels has had an ‘interesting’ time at St James Park so far.
Despite Karl Darlow doing so well in the second half of last season, Rafa Benitez chose to bring the Belgian keeper in as his first choice for the Championship.
Arriving from AA Gent, Matz Sels started the first nine Championship matches of this season but despite results going relatively ok with five wins and a draw, the new signing looked far from comfortable and especially nervous when balls were delivered into the box.
After conceding late on at Villa and dropping two points, Rafa Benitez brought Karl Darlow back in and he has been excellent, give or take the odd mistake – such as the one that gifted Norwich a goal last night.
In contrast, it has been a slippery slope for Matz Sels, the Belgian starting five cup matches since being dropped as first choice. The keeper to blame for the equaliser in the League Cup knockout at Hull, then what looks his very final match of this season being a 3-0 FA Cup defeat to Oxford.
Worse has followed, with the last couple of matches seeing Sels dropped from the whole matchday 18 and Rob Elliot taking his place on the bench.
Matz Sels says that if nothing changes he will speak to Newcastle United and decide what is the best option.
However, he says that whatever happens he doesn’t anticipate any return to Belgium next season, even temporarily.
Instead, if he isn’t involved at Newcastle, he would see the best route as being to go out on loan to another English club to get more experience, then have another try at establishing himself at Newcastle.
When interviewed, Matz Sels was also asked about his old club facing Tottenham in the Europa League, the game in Belgium on Thursday and then the return at Wembley in eight days time.
However, rather than being at Wembley, the Newcastle keeper intends to watch at home on TV as he has training the next day.
Matz Sels speaking to Het Nieuwsblad:
‘Where will you watch the matches of your former club against Tottenham? The pub, or maybe even at Wembley?’
“At St James Park I have played in front of 51,000 but Wembley is something special.
“I have satellite TV and I can simply follow the game from my seat.
“I have considered whether I could go to Wembley but I have to train the next day.
“It remains to be seen whether Tottenham will play their strongest team but I think the Belgians at Tottenham will warn their teammates not to underestimate. They know AA Gent is and know what the team is capable of.
“In the English second tier play is more physical, with long balls and a lot of fight for the second ball, but in the Premier League they play football a lot more, which is better for AA Gent.”
‘First you stood under the bar in Newcastle, then on the bench, now the last two games you aren’t even in the squad. Mathew Ryan (joined Valencia from Brugge in 2015 but joined Racing Genk on loan last month) returned to Belgium because he has not played for Valencia. Is that next summer also for you?’
“I have not been able to build up the credit here that I had at AA Gent.
“If the situation stays the same, I will talk to Newcastle in the summer on a solution.
“Never say ‘never’, but a return to Belgium, certainly not next season.
“Maybe a loan (next season) to another English club and then in time I can still return to Newcastle. “