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Martin Dubravka poses the question to Eddie Howe – First game in five months and clean sheet

2 weeks ago
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After five months out, Newcastle United keeper Martin Dubvravka was finally back in action on Sunday (14 November 2021).

Dubravka getting a confidence boosting clean sheet for Slovakia against Malta, which will help give further food for thought to Eddie Howe as Newcastle’s number one keeper now returns to NUFC first team training ahead of Saturday’s game against Brentford.

Martin Dubravka had last played football at the ‘2020’ European Championships finals, a painful memory for the NUFC goalkeeper as Slovakia exited on the back of a 5-0 hammering by Spain on 23 June 2021.

Even more painful when it then came to Martin Dubravka needing an operation pre-season that has kept him out of the opening months of the 2020/21 Premier League season, a repeat of a year earlier when a pre-season operation also led to a delayed start to the season for Newcastle’s number one.

Out injured for the opening 14 Premier League games last (2020/21) season, insult was added to injury when then Steve Bruce failed to put him in the team, despite Karl Darlow’s rapidly deteriorating form after some promising performances early on.

From late December, Bruce kept Martin Dubravka on the bench for 11 PL games and Newcastle won only two them. A different story though once restored to the team, the final 13 PL match seeing Dubravka and NUFC losing only three of them, with five wins and five draws.

Ahead of this past week’s international games and Eddie Howe’s first match against Brentford, Martin Dubravka talked to media (see below) in Slovakia about the new Newcastle United owners and Eddie Howe.

In truth, Sunday’s first match after five months without football couldn’t have been smoother for the Newcastle goalkeeper. A totally dominant performance by Slovakia saw them go three up inside sixteen minutes and then their job made even easier when Malta had two players sent off in the space of the five minutes after half-time.

Slovakia going on to win 6-0 and a final shot count of 26 v 1, with 16 on target for the home side and not a single effort on target for Martin Dubravka to face. If he gets the nod ahead of Karl Darlow on Saturday, hopefully Dubravka will have a similarly quiet afternoon…

Meanwhile, over in Luxembourg, Jeff Hendrick played the full 90 minutes as the Newcastle midfielder helped the Republic of Ireland to a morale boosting 3-0 win, meaning they finish third in their World Cup qualifying group after a dismal campaign when they never ever looked capable of making it to Qatar.

A Newcastle player who does still have hopes of World Cup qualification is Emil Krafth. Sweden needed to win in Spain on Sunday to automatically qualify but lost 1-0, Krafth subbed in the 85th minute and Morata scoring the winner a minute later. Sweden will now have to win a play-off if they are to make it to Qatar in November and December 2022.

Martin Dubravka talking to sport.sk – 8 November 2021:

“The new management [Newcastle United owners] came to see us and expressed their great support.

“They outlined some short-term plans to us and I can tell you that they are planning to rebuild the training centre, which is the first goal so far.

“Of course, some reinforcements should come in January [as well].

“It was positive for me that they came to us and said plainly how things were.

“They wanted to bring in a new coach and I think this should be an announced change in the coming days.

“It is positive for me that they communicate with us every day and they are also often in the training centre.

“Some negotiations have probably already taken place [with Eddie Howe], as he also appeared at the last match [at Brighton] but I do not know anything more.

“I would like the situation to be resolved, to let us know with what style and philosophy the new coach will want to present himself, so that we can concentrate only on football.

“I see Eddie Howe positively because I had the opportunity to play several matches against Bournemouth and his team always presented itself with combination football. It was not at all easy to play against him, which is good if such a change were to take place. If it’s him, then time will tell if it will be the right move.

“He is a modern type of coach and Bournemouth, a relatively smaller club, was not only able to get into the Premier League, but also keep them there for a long time with a low budget, which is also a certain indicator.

“Wherever I worked, I had to fight for my position. Whether it was in the Czech Republic, Denmark or Slovakia.

“In my view, nothing changes. I always had to show myself in the best possible light, [so] if the new leadership [owners] decides to bring reinforcements, whether to a goalkeeper post or some other position, it will be up to the individual players to deal with it. 

“At the moment, I am just thinking about being in good health and getting back in goal as soon as possible.

“I believe that in the future I will be part of the ‘new’ Newcastle, which has great goals and ambitions.”

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