Could Rob Elliot be set for a move away from Newcastle United? Rafa Benitez has his say...

Rob Elliot.
Rob Elliot.

Newcastle United goalkeeper Rob Elliot was closing in on a January move away from St James' Park, according to reports this morning.

But Rafa Benitez has moved to quash that talk, insisting that he is happy with the goalkeeper's progress playing for the club's Under-23 side.

The Irish Sun reported that Elliot's immediate United future could be in doubt, and second tier Wigan Athletic, as well as tomorrow's opponents Rotherham United have enquired about taking the 30-year-old on loan until the end of the season.

It is also claimed that Cardiff City were also interested in Elliot, recently returned from a long-term knee injury, which saw him miss a large chunk of the end of last season. But the Bluebirds have since signed Scotland international Allan McGregor making that move unlikely.

When asked about a loan move for Elliot, Benitez said: "Rob Elliot, I am happy with him. He has to keep playing with Under-23s to keep his fitness."

Republic of Ireland international Elliot has only just, in the last month or so, returned to full fitness from a cruciate ligament injury suffered in Ireland’s friendly against Slovakia last March. It was a problem which scuppered his chances of making Martin O'Neill's squad for the Euro finals in France last summer.

Elliot was an unused substitute in the midweek FA Cup win over Birmingham City.

At present he is the Magpies third choice goalkeeper, despite being named player of the year last term. He is currently behind Karl Darlow and summer signing Matz Sels in the pecking order.