Rafa Benitez reveals his thoughts on Matz Sels’ start to life at Newcastle

Matz Sels
Matz Sels

Rafa Benitez has backed goalkeeper Matz Sels to quickly adjust to English football.

Sels joined Newcastle United from Belgian club Gent this summer.

And the 24-year-old started the season between the posts, with Tim Krul and Rob Elliot both recovering from long-term knee injuries.

Karl Darlow – who impressed late last season after being drafted into Benitez’s side after Elliot ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament playing for the Republic of Ireland – has been on the bench.

Darlow has experience of the Championship from his time at former club Nottingham Forest, but Benitez plans on keeping faith with Sels while he gets used to life in English football’s second tier.

“We signed him knowing that he was the best keeper in Belgium,” said United’s manager. “That means sometimes a lot, sometimes it means little, because you are going to a new country, a new league, another tempo, another style of football – so you need some time to settle.

Matz Sels

Matz Sels

“I think he is in the process of doing better every time.

“Obviously, when you talk about a keeper, sometimes when you concede a goal it can hit confidence.

“But he is a good worker, he is doing well and he will keep improving every week.

“It depends on the games. If he can make two or three saves, then that will be great, because it will give him a bit of time, and he’s doing well so far.”

I think he (Sels) is in the process of doing better every time. Obviously, when you talk about a keeper, sometimes when you concede a goal it can hit confidence, or this or that.

Rafa Benitez

Asked if he would keep faith with Sels as he adjusts to the English game, Benitez said: “The keeper has an influence on the team, and he has to have confidence, so it’s important to give him confidence.”

Meanwhile, No 1 Krul is edging closer to fitness after recovering from the cruciate ligament injury he suffered playing for Holland last October.

Benitez this week revealed that Newcastle will “listen” to offers for the 28-year-old, who is in the last year of his contract at the club.