Rob Elliot opens up on his Newcastle future '“ and his love for the city
If Rob Elliot leaves Newcastle United next month, it'll be with a heavy heart.
Rafa Benitez revealed that Elliot is available for transfer in the January transfer window ahead of this afternoon's Premier League game against Watford at Vicarage Road.
The 32-year-old, signed from Charlton Athletic in 2011, last played a competitive senior game for the club just over a year ago.
Benitez said: “He’s not playing and he’s available, and that’s it. We have four keepers, and we can cannot keep (him).”
Greenwich-born Elliot – who started last season as United's first-choice goalkeeper – spoke to the Gazette about his future in the summer.
And the Republic of Ireland international, settled on Tyneside with his young family, spoke of his "love" for the club – and the North East.
Speaking in July, Elliot said: “I thought some of the stuff last year about being desperate for a new goalkeeper was a bit harsh.
“I didn’t think my performances warranted that. I wouldn’t say I was chucking goals in or anything like that, but sometimes you have to deal with that and make sure you come back stronger.
“Looking back over my career here, I’ve always had to do that. I’ve always had to prove myself and come again and come again.
“I’ve always said before I’ve got no interest in leaving. I love living up here. I love being part of the club. I think if the decision ever comes that I will have to leave, it probably won’t be from my side. It’ll probably be because my hand’s being forced.
“The manager’s been great. He’s been open and calm. All I can do is keep working hard and see where it takes me. There’s no point in trying to second-guess things.”
Benitez, Newcastle's manager, signed Martin Dubravka, initially on loan, from Sparta Prague in January.
And the 29-year-old quickly established himself as the club's No 1 between the posts.
“I had a little tweak last year, and then Martin came in and played,” said Elliot. “I think I only wasn’t available for a couple of games, but Martin came in and did brilliantly and the team did well. You just have to accept that.
"When the team’s doing well, you can’t really argue. The only thing you can do is work hard and be strong.
"That’s why I want to make sure this year that I train as hard as I can and push as hard as I can, so when I get an opportunity arises, I can hopefully stake a claim.”
Elliot has made 68 appearances for United.