Rafa Benitez reveals why he’s considering a recall for Newcastle’s Matz Sels

Matz Sels
Matz Sels

Matz Sels is set to return to Newcastle United’s starting XI at the KCOM Stadium.

Rafa Benitez will make a number of changes to his team for tonight’s EFL Cup quarter-final against Hull City. And summer signing Sels – who was dropped in late September – is on standby to play, having started against Preston North End in the last round.

I will say he is training well. The national team has been positive for him, because he has gone there when he has not been playing. He was training and motivated.

Rafa Benitez

Asked if the goalkeeper would play, United manager Benitez said: “Could be.

“I want to keep the majority of the players ready. So if I have to change one player, or another one, we have to be sure they are playing.

“Gamez, the other day, the only risk in terms of team selection because he was not playing. But he did well until he was injured.

“The other players were performing and doing well.

“Sels is another one. I can play other players to be sure they are (ready), just in case. If you don’t play players, normally you will lose the players.”

Benitez – who will not risk midfielder Jack Colback against Hull – recalled Karl Darlow after the club’s 1-1 draw against Aston Villa.

Newcastle went on to win eight successive Championship games with Darlow in goal.

Asked if it had been a difficult two months for 24-year-old Sels, Benitez said: “I will say he is training well.

“The (Belgium) national team has been positive for him, because he has gone there when he has not been playing. He was training and motivated. We’re working really hard with the keepers.”

Meanwhile, Rob Elliot is close to a return from long-term knee injury. Benitez added: “Elliot is nearly there, but not yet. We don’t have to take any risks.”