Rob Elliot recounts a frank conversation with Rafa Benitez after being dropped at Newcastle
Rob Elliot has told of his reaction to being dropped by Rafa Benitez.
The Newcastle United goalkeeper returned to Benitez’s starting XI against Arsenal last weekend.
Elliot, preparing for tomorrow’s fixture against West Ham United at the London Stadium, had been dropped for the Premier League games against Chelsea, Leicester City and Everton.
Benitez had recalled Karl Darlow, outstanding during the club’s Championship-winning campaign, for those fixtures.
However, an error from Darlow against Everton led to the only goal of the game, scored by Wayne Rooney.
And Elliot was recalled at the Emirates Stadium, where Newcastle were beaten 1-0 by Arsenal.
The result saw the club, which has lost eight of its last nine games, drop into the Premier League’s relegation zone ahead of the West Ham fixture.
“It’s hard for anyone when you come out of the team,” said Elliot.
“Goalkeepers are slightly different. The manager made his decision. I obviously wasn’t very happy about it, but you just have to get on with it – to support Karl, to support the lads and work hard in training.
“You hope to get the chance to come back in and I got given the nod (against Arsenal).
“I just had to go out there and do well and show that from my point of view, that it wasn’t my performances which led to the bad run.
“Sometimes you go to Old Trafford and concede four, and, as a goalkeeper, you’re at the mercy of quality players sometimes.
“I just had to stick with it. Karl’s done really well. He was a top keeper last year, and did well when he came in. The manager spoke to us and said we have to keep pushing each other.”
Elliot went to speak to United manager Benitez after being left out of his team for the game against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, which the team lost 3-1.
And the 31-year-old left Benitez’s office with a clear idea of what he had to do to get back into the starting XI.
The Republic of Ireland international said: “I went to go and speak to him about it, because you have to.
“You wouldn’t expect a player to just accept it and sulk around. I have a lot of respect for the manager – I really like him. He’s a fantastic manager, who I’ve learnt a lot from.
“I just had to give him my opinion and he gave me his. There was no problem.
“I just had to carry on working hard, and I got back in the team. That’s it really. All I can do is work as hard as I can and when I play, give my best and go from there.”