Massive relief that Martin Dubravka is staying at Newcastle United
Martin Dubravka was arguably Rafa Benitez’ best signing.
You know you have a good goalkeeper when you rarely ever mention him.
By the very nature of their position as the last line of defence, it is only when things are going badly that keepers tend to be a big part of the debate.
We can talk endlessly about central midfielders and whether they deserve a place in the team, you rate them on all kinds of things: scoring goals, assists, tackling, heading, passing, running with the ball and so on.
With a goalkeeper it is really only two things.
The confidence they give the defence and overwhelmingly, do they stop the ball going in the net.
In 50 consecutive Premier League starts, Martin Dubravka has conceded only 59 goals.
In his two Premier League seasons, both times only two clubs outside the top four have conceded fewer goals than Newcastle, remarkable.
To have lost Martin Dubravka this summer would have been a nightmare, very quickly we would have realised how much we all took for granted.
Earlier this year his agents said that top clubs in England and abroad had already registered their interest and that they expected offers to come in this summer, plus they also expected Dubravka to get an enhanced new contract reflecting his performances.
None of that has happened, at least not so far, or at least as far as we are aware.
After being left out of the squad for three of the first four friendlies it was a little strange, as surely you wanted your first choice keeper involved as much as possible.
However, after having played his second 90 minutes of pre-season against St Etienne (the other was the 1-0 against West Ham), Martin Dubravka has confirmed that this was the plan as explained to him, giving Woodman and Darlow games (one and a half each).
He also dismissed the daft photo on social media that claimed to be taken in Paris on his way to sign for PSG, pointing out the signs in the background clearly show it was actually from when he was previously in Slovakia passing through the airport.
For Newcastle to have a relatively successful season, keeping hold of Rafa bargains such as Schar and Dubravka was essential.
The combined £7m pair are quality players and when you see £80m paid for Harry Maguire and then Bournemouth quoting Leicester £75m for Nathan Ake, it does make you wonder if our luck can hold out and outsiders won’t take more notice of the NUFC pair.
“That was the truth, they explained to me they wanted to see the other goalkeepers, in case I wasn’t able to play.
“Hopefully, I will be in the starting line-up (on Sunday against Arsenal).
“I accepted that.
“I was training pretty hard, trying to do my best.
“I want to be on the pitch but they get a chance to show themselves and I was trying to show myself.
“Social media is a dangerous thing. I’ve seen some pictures on there that suggest I was in Paris Airport and it is just not true.
“If you look at the pictures, the signs in the background, it is in Slovakia. It makes me laugh, that is where I am from.
“I have got a contract here and I am happy here.
“I was not even thinking about leaving Newcastle.
“I am ready to start the new season here and what will happen after that is not up to me.
“I am just trying to be ready on the pitch.”
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