Matz Sels has vowed to be patient at Newcastle United as he bids to force his way back into Rafa Benitez’s team.
Sels was recalled for Saturday’s FA Cup tie against Birmingham City.
I try to work hard in training and show myself.
The goalkeeper, signed from Belgian club Gent last summer, hasn’t played a league game since September, when he was dropped after the club’s draw against Aston Villa.
Karl Darlow’s form between the posts since then has kept the 24-year-old out of the team.
And Sels was happy to get a chance at St Andrew’s, where Newcastle were held to a 1-1 draw in the third-round tie.
“I’m happy if I can play,” said Sels. “Now there is a return and we have to beat them.”
It was Sels’s first appearance since late November, when he was in goal for United’s EFL Cup defeat to Hull City at the KCOM Stadium.
“I try to work hard in training and show myself and make it difficult (for him to decide),” said the Belgium Under-21 international, who also faces competition from fit-again Rob Elliot.
“That’s what I try to do. It’s football. Karl’s doing well at the moment. As a goalkeeper, there’s only one position, so it’s normal.
“I have to be patient and see what the future brings.”
The replay will be staged at St James’s Park on Wednesday next week, and Sels could again play in goal.
Sels says the FA Cup is important to United, though he has acknowledged that the Championship club’s over-riding goal is promotion to the Premier League.
Newcastle are second in the league ahead of Saturday’s game against Brentford at Griffin Park.
“It’s important, of course,” said Sels. “You want to win every game as a football player. The FA Cup is really important. We will give everything to go through.
“The focus is on the Championship. It’s also good to let some players rest and give some other players a chance to show themselves.”