Newcastle United head into the new year still in the relegation zone following defeat at West Brom, with Ian Wright pointing out where he thinks it went wrong for United at the Hawthorns.
The TV pundit thinks the late withdrawal of Rob Elliot left Newcastle in a less than ideal position and Karl Darlow had ‘got to be nervous’ after being ‘thrown in at the deep end’.
The former Forest keeper made a few decent saves but looked unsure of himself throughout, almost totally missing a backpass which luckily went for a corner, whilst under no pressure at all he went to punch one ball only six or so yards from goal and it ended up going behind him.
As for the winning goal, Ian Wright says ‘you just have to feel’ for Darlow as he allowed a tame header to squirm over the line.
The implication of what Wright has to say is that obviously he fancies Newcastle would have got at least a point if Rob Elliot hadn’t had to drop out.
Ian Wright speaking on Match of The Day:
“Really felt for Karl Darlow, it is not the ideal situation that you want to make your debut in.
“Tim (Krul) is not playing particularly well but Rob Elliot has been brilliant this season so far, got ill in the warm up.
“He has got to be nervous, he has been thrown in at the deep end.
“When you look at the header he has been beaten with, you just have to feel for him.
“I think unfortunate for them (Newcastle) that they have had to throw in their young keeper and it didn’t work out.”
Whilst you can agree with Ian Wright that making your Premier League debut is always going to be a big moment, it looks as though he and many other pundits/experts are a bit clueless as to who Karl Darlow actually is.
They seem to think he is a young inexperienced kid with zero experience, much like the situation was when Jak Alnwick found himself in the first team a year ago.
Alnwick was only 21 at the time and hadn’t played a single minute of league football, only a handful of matches for Gateshead in the Conference before his Newcastle first team call against Chelsea.
In contrast, Karl Darlow is 25 and is an established player at Championship level, having turned out well over 100 times for Nottingham Forest, as well as spells at Walsall and Newport lower down the leagues.
Darlow did in fact already have one first team game under his belt for Newcastle, featuring in the 4-1 win over Northampton in the League Cup in August.
It was worrying though to see how poor our £4m signing from Forest was though against West Brom and maybe there is another key factor that needs to be taken into account and acted upon by Newcastle United.
Karl Darlow turned out twice for the NUFC reserves (Under 21s) early in the season but since he played against Arsenal Under 21s on September 11 2015, he has only played one competitive match for the reserves in the following 16 weeks, appearing against West Brom reserves towards the end of November.
He was injured for some of that time but it is a major flaw when your number two goalkeeper pretty much never plays a competitive game, with Freddie Woodman generally doing the honours at reserve team level.
For a goalkeeper it must be even worse to play so little football and then be suddenly thrown into first team action when your every mistake is going to be scrutinised so closely.
I thought he would have maybe got a run out last night in the Under 21s friendly at Berwick to give him a little bit of confidence and time on the pitch but it was Freddie Woodman on duty.
Let’s hope Rob Elliot is ok for Arsenal on Saturday and that Newcastle look to get some regular football for Karl Darlow, to help him make the step up the next time.