Why Karl Darlow Should Continue In Goal For Newcastle
Rafael Benitez made the decision on Tuesday night to leave regular goalkeeper Rob Elliot out of his Newcastle United side at West Bromwich Albion and instead go with former Nottingham Forest man Karl Darlow.
Darlow was the Toon’s regular stopper during their Championship season, though when Elliot recovered from a long-term injury, he quickly replaced the man from Northampton, and so he seemed to announce himself as Rafa’s No.1.
As if to back the fact that he didn’t trust Darlow as his first-choice, Benitez brought in Matz Sels last summer and threw him straight into the fold rather than use the man who had heroically saved a penalty from Yohan Cabaye, against Crystal Palace the previous season in what was a vital relegation clash.
No matter which way you look at it, nobody is taking this role purely on merit. They have mostly been taking it due to the mistakes of others. Rafa looked to bring in some experience in the summer but his efforts went in vain, with him reportedly failing with a move for Pepe Reina. He will no doubt try again for a new ‘keeper in January, provided funds are available.
As for now though, should Darlow carry on in Elliot’s place? It’s something that divides opinion among Newcastle fans and after just the one game, we have precious little in the way of stats, to help us along.
Darlow made 1 save and conceded 2 goals, though naturally, they were not necessarily his fault. He didn’t punch the ball once in the game at the Hawthorns and was 100% with his claims, meaning he certainly went into the situation with confidence, which is a very good sign.
The fact that he played assuredly in a performance was tons better than the one against Watford, which tends to suggest it would be unfair to drop him now. Darlow would go into the clash at Chelsea with full confidence and that is half the battle with a goalkeeper. So it’s likely that Rafa will stick with him.
At just 27 years old, Darlow is 4 years younger than Rob Elliot and is barely reaching his peak in this position, something people will do well to remember. In other words, whatever Darlow achieved during Newcastle’s relegation campaign and whatever he achieved last season will all naturally be bettered now, as he continues to improve.
For me, there is no doubt whatsoever that Darlow should play at the weekend and I can only hope he isn’t dropped after one appearance, as that would potentially damage him somewhat.