Rob Elliot is hoping for a ‘nice, smooth season’ for both himself and the team…as are of course many thousands of Newcastle fans.
He dreams of starting the season as number one keeper at NUFC but that must definitely be seen as being in the balance.
Rob Elliot says that this (being number one at the start of a season) has never been the case in any of his past six seasons at the club but hopes it will change for the better this time.
With only 38 league starts in those six years, at no stage has Elliot been seen as number one.
An injury on international duty for Tim Krul did open the door and a run of 21 Premier League matches in the relegation season was easily Elliot’s personal best, despite the team doing so badly, only for a nightmare injury to happen for the now 31 year old himself in March 2016.
Karl Darlow then did well but didn’t get to be number one at the start of the Championship season, as Matz Sels was brought in above him, only for Darlow to get his place back after unconvincing displays from the Belgian, then Darlow himself was dropped for the final three games as promotion and the title were achieved with a now fully fit Rob Elliot back in position.
With four different keepers in the past two seasons, it is clear that Rafa Benitez needs to decide on a number one and hope that this time injury and loss of form don’t intervene.
It is looking very likely that an experienced goalkeeper is going to arrive and be installed as number one, with Reina and Caballero heavily linked.
In this latest interview, it is surprising that Rob Elliot doesn’t refer to his recent injury problems when away with Ireland.
The Newcastle keeper was said by Martin O’Neill to have had a reaction to playing again after his knee ligament injury/absence and subsequently took no part in Ireland’s three games this summer, not even featuring on the bench.
Regardless of that, I have a feeling that Rob Elliot will once again be left disappointed at the start of the season, with a new number one brought in and he (Elliot) fighting it out with others to be on the bench.
Rob Elliot speaking to the official club site:
“I didn’t see myself playing (at the end of last season) as Karl Darlow was doing so well, so to play the last three games, three important games, and do well, was great.
“It gives you that confidence for yourself, mentally, to know that you can get back to the levels you were at before, and also going into next season, hopefully it gives me a good chance to try and start the season.
“I’ve never started the season…I have been here six years but I have never started the season as number one, or the goalie, whichever way you look at it, but hopefully I can get a good pre-season, stay fit and strong and give it my best to get the nod when the season starts.
“But with the amount of goalkeepers we’ve got and the quality of the goalkeepers, you just never know, you have to be at your best every day and hopefully do enough to get the nod from the manager.
“It (the summer) has been good. I feel really confident in my knee, and I want to almost put it behind me this season, sort of forget that I had it and then carry on from there.
“There’s a lot of competition this year and you want to give yourself the best opportunity to be involved and to play. It’s just a case of getting as fit as you can, staying strong, and hopefully when you come back to training you can then kick on and get going as quickly as possible.
“Tottenham at home is a fantastic opening game for us to be back in the league and it will be a good challenge for us. They’re one of the best teams in the league, a brilliant team, and it’s something you look forward to as a player, the sort of game you want to play in.
“I think the atmosphere will be brilliant and that gives you a good driving force to keep working in the gym and keep working when we get back.
“It’s amazing, I didn’t realise how much I’d needed a rest until probably about a week or two ago. It was only a week or two ago that I felt like I’d rested, and I started thinking about going back to training again and playing, so I think in that sense, mentally, it’s brilliant.
“I think it’s when the fixtures come out that it sets in and you start looking forward to things.
“Hopefully it’s just a nice, smooth season….it’s been a bit up in the air the last few years for me, so hopefully I can just look forward to a bit of normality, get some games and enjoy being back in the Premier League.”