Newcastle United briefing: Martin Dubravka opens up on his move, Aleksandar Mitrovic agrees deal on Snapchat

Is it time for a change in goal?

Thursday, 8th February 2018, 10:32 am
Updated Thursday, 8th February 2018, 10:40 am
Martin Dubravka

Rafa Benitez has a decision to make for Sunday's home game against Manchester United now he has three fit goalkeepers.

Karl Darlow has been in possession of the goalkeeping jersey at Newcastle United since December.

Rafa Benitez

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However, Darlow faces competition from new signing Martin Dubravka and long-serving Rob Elliot, who has recovered from injury.

We have an interview with Dubravka, who joined the club on loan from Sparta Prague last month.

Big step

Dubravka's hoping to turn his loan move into a permanent switch.

Mohamed Diame

“It’s exciting to be here,” said Dubravka, an unused substitute in last weekend's 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace.

“It’s a big club, particularly in my own country. I appreciate the opportunity, and I will try to do my best to stay. Hopefully, it will not just be a loan.

“I really hope I get to stay longer than six months. It’s a huge opportunity for my life.

“The coach hasn’t said to me to prove myself for six months – nothing like that.

Aleksandar Mitrovic

“I have to show myself and to the people that I can do this, because this is what I want in my life.

“I have played for smaller clubs before in my own country. Sparta Prague’s a big club, but this is a big step for me.

“The Premier League is an amazing league, and I got to see straightaway how hard you have to fight for every point.”

Read our full interview with Dubravka here.

Rafa Benitez

Lucky day

The striker signed for the Championship club on loan in last month’s transfer window.

Mitrovic was allowed to leave St James’s Park on transfer deadline day after Islam Slimani arrived on loan from Leicester City.

The 23-year-old has swapped a relegation battle for a promotion fight. Newcastle are 16th in the Premier League, while Fulham are fifth in the Championship.

“For me, Newcastle is such a big club, and he (Benitez) knows it as well,” said Mitrovic. “It has an amazing stadium and fans. It deserves to be in a much better position than it is now. Benítez saw the big potential of this club. I hope they stay in the Premier League. They deserve this.”

Mohamed Diame

Mitrovic travelled to Brussels on deadline day to re-sign for former club Anderlecht on loan after rejecting an initial approach from Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic.

However, the deal broke down and later that night Jokanovic sent Mitrovic a message. Jokanovic, a fellow Serb, said “how are you?” via Snapchat. He joked that he was waiting for Mitrovic’s move to collapse.

Mitrovic replied: “It’s your lucky, day – the deal is broken.”

Within two hours, the Serbia international – who was desperate to be playing regularly ahead of the summer’s World Cup finals – had joined Fulham on a half-season loan.

Mr Versatile

Mohamed Diame has hit form over the past two months.

The midfielder scored against Palace and is likely to start against Man United.

But what is his best position? Manager Rafa Benitez has had his say.

Cup agony

Newcastle United’s Under-18s were knocked out of the FA Youth Cup after an eventful 120 minutes at Carrow Road last night.

Norwich City came from behind to beat United 4-3 after extra time.

Strikes from Kelland Watts and Elias Sorensen gave Newcastle a 2-0 lead, but the home side scored three unanswered goals. An Adam Wilson strike took the game into an extra period, but Anthony Spyrou won it for Norwich.

Aleksandar Mitrovic