The curse of the International Goalkeeper struck once more for Newcastle United in the cruelest of fashion as player of the season so far Rob Elliot sustained a cruciate ligament injury that will keep him out of football for ‘a number of months’.
The devastating news came early in the Republic of Ireland’s 2-2 draw against Slovakia on Tuesday.
Elliot, 29, has been a revelation between the sticks for NUFC this season following an injury to Tim Krul whilst on international duty back in October. Unbelievably both players have suffered the same injury, and with Krul still no where near back in training Rafa Benitez will be forced to turn to his 3rd choice or U21 stopper with no option to bring in an emergency goalkeeper being allowed.
Elliot has been outstanding this season, with many suggesting that he would keep his place even when Krul was back and fully fit.
NUFCYOU.com player ratings, compiled from your scores after each game, have Elliot as Newcastle’s best performer this season with 6.58 out of 10, some way ahead of Mbemba in second.
Elliot has played 22 times this season, and with Krul having 9 starts Rafa will now hope that either young Karl Darlow (who joined from Forest last summer) or the even younger England U20 stopper Freddie Woodman can somehow fill the void.
The news will come as a huge blow to Rafa Benitez with his side now sitting 2nd bottom and 3 points and two places from safety. And with a relegation six pointer at Norwich this weekend followed by a tough trip to Southampton the week after Darlow, who is likely to get the nod, is sure to have a baptism of fire.
One irony that will not be lost on many NUFC fans, and certainly those who travel to St Mary’s, will be the contracting fortunes of ex Mag Fraser Forster. After Newcastle chose Krul over Forster a few years back Forster has come back from his own injury issues as a real challenger for Joe Hart’s England nr 1 shirt. Oh how we would love to have retained his services at this critical point of the season.