Matz Sels vying to start the season between the posts for Newcastle

Matz Sels was unveiled as a Newcastle player
Matz Sels was unveiled as a Newcastle player

Rafa Benitez will give Matz Sels the chance to prove he is ready to start the Championship campaign between the posts in pre-season.

Sels joined the club this summer from Belgian club Gent for £6.5million.

And the 24-year-old could start the season as Benitez’s first-choice goalkeeper.

Karl Darlow impressed in the absence through injury of No 1 Tim Krul and Rob Elliot in the final months of last season.

Krul and Elliot, returning from long-term knee injuries, won’t be fit for Newcastle’s season-opener against Fulham at Craven Cottage on August 5.

And Sels – who made his debut in Saturday’s 6-0 win over Bohemian – will have to quickly adapt to English football between now and then.

United manager Benitez said: “Matz was the best keeper in Belgium in the last season.

“Obviously, we have to wait and see how he adapts to the Championship and the English style.

“He has the physicality. He wants to adapt and to cope with the strikers. You have to be strong. It’s little things you have to adapt. I think he will be fine.”

Sels, replaced at the break against Bohemian by Darlow, had little to do at Dalymount Park.

New signings Matt Ritchie and Dwight Gayle both found the net in a comfortable win over an under-strength side which had played the night before.

“It’s always important to score goals,” said Benitez.

“It wasn’t the best game, but when you start the pre-season you want to see little things – details, qualities and movement.

“There were some mistakes too, so we have to keep working. All of them were doing well. We had chances.”