Karl Darlow says he’s determined to stay and fight for the goalkeeping jersey at Newcastle United – a year after coming close to leaving the club.
The 27-year-old is set to start the season as Rafa Benitez’s second-choice goalkeeper behind Martin Dubravka, who joined the club on a permanent deal in May.
Darlow came close to joining Middlesbrough last summer, but a move isn’t in his mind ahead of the new season.
Asked about his situation, Darlow said: “It feels a bit different this summer.
“I think Martin,coming in and doing so well last season, he’s obviously the main man, so it’s about pushing him and helping him, but also selfishly trying to push past him.
“It’s a different situation to the one I’ve been in in the past, but it’s one I’m relishing. Hopefully, I can do my best and show what I’ve got.
“We’ve got an abundance of keepers here, but, as far as I know, I’ll be staying at Newcastle. I love the club, I love the fans and St James’s is a great place to play football. It’s always packed out, and it’s unbelievable to play there, so it’s a place I wouldn’t leave in a rush.
“I still feel like I’ve got a lot to give here and I want to prove that.”
Dubravka – who joined on loan from Sparta Prague in January – ha raised the bar at United.
“I think we’ve got great competition all round – it’s a good group,” said Darlow.
I think Martin,coming in and doing so well last season, he’s obviously the main man, so it’s about pushing him and helping him, but also selfishly trying to push past him.Karl Darlow
“Martin came in and did fantastically well last season so I can have no complaints.
“It’s one of those where you have to take it realistically what’s going on at the club. But I’ll just carry on doing what I’m doing.”
Darlow will stay patient and wait for an opportunity.
“We’re professional players, and we’re paid to work hard and stay professional throughout,” he said.
“For myself, I just carry doing what I’m doing and I can look myself in the mirror and be proud of what I’ve done.”
Darlow, an influential player during the club’s Championship-winning campaign, has had ups and downs throughout his career at St James’s Park.
Reflecting on his four years at the club, Darlow said: “It would be nice for it to settle down a little!
“I feel like I’ve achieved a lot here in a short period of time, which was the reason for the move in the first place.
“I’ve played in the Premier League, had the low of going down to the Championship but then bouncing straight back up, and winning the Championship was so special. Even last season was a success, finishing 10th in our first season. There’s lots of positives to be taken from what I’ve achieved and the team’s achieved so far.”
Darlow says the players are ready to build on last season’s successful return to the Premier League.
“We’ve just got to carry on as we did last season,” he said. “We’ve got a great set of lads who are up for the challenge.”