Newcastle's Martin Dubravka talks Mike Ashley protests, Rafa Benitez and ex-Arsenal star who convinced him to join

Newcastle United goalkeeper Martin Dubravka
Newcastle United goalkeeper Martin Dubravka

Newcastle United goalkeeper Martin Dubravka has spoken about the protests against owner Mike Ashley, Rafa Benitez and the ex-Arsenal star who convinced him to move to Tyneside.

The 29-year-old hasn't taken long to gain fans favourite status at St James's Park since initially joining on loan from Sparta Prague in January.

And although he is yet to mark his permanent arrival with a win, Dubravka's consistent performances has saw him escape criticism.

Off the field matters have hit the headlines with Newcastle fans calling for Ashley to sell the club - however Dubravka insisted he is not interested and just wants to get on with his job.

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"Of course we hear the fans talking about the owner and the team but I am not interested," admitted Dubravka, who spoke to the Daily Mail.

"I have quit the English channels on my TV because if you are not careful these things can get really deep inside your head. Then it’s hard. So I don’t listen to it.

"Mike Ashley is not my business. Here we just need to do our jobs."

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In a bid to help boost squad morale following Newcastle's 3-0 home defeat to Leicester City in October, Ashley treated the squad to an Italian meal.

Fans discovered their whereabouts and Ashley's departure from the restaurant was met by boos and chants of "where's the money gone".

"He was trying to support us and it was normal for me because I have sat many times with the owners in my career," added Dubravka.

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"It was just dinner and a little talk, not just football. So I didn’t see it in a bad way. We made some jokes. It was fun actually.’

Benitez has come under some criticism in recent weeks with the club still awaiting their first win of the season after 10 games.

But Dubravka reiterated the Spaniard's importance to the club and the city.

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He said: "He is the most important person.

‘He came here from the big clubs and the fact he wants to take the club back to the top six is a great vision. It’s great to know it.

"He is so important for the club and the city. He never stops advising me."

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In February, it was Dubravka's debut in the 1-0 win over Manchester United that kick-started Newcastle's successful fight against relegation.

Dubravka's impact, alongside Kenedy, led Benitez's side to just one defeat in seven as they clinched Premier League survival in a 2-1 win against Arsenal with five games remaining.

However, it might have been a different story if it weren't for the encouragement of Tomas Rosicky - who he was teammates with at Sparta Prague.

"He told me he liked playing with me but that I had to come here," Dubravka said.