Rafa Benitez reveals the reaction of Karl Darlow and Rob Elliot to the arrival of Martin Dubravka at Newcastle

Martin Dubravka makes a save against Manchester United.
Martin Dubravka makes a save against Manchester United.

Rafa Benitez says Karl Darlow’s improved since the arrival of Martin Dubravka – despite having been relegated to the bench.

Goalkeeper Dubravka, signed on loan from Sparta Prague in January, has started Newcastle United’s last four games.

I think it has been positive for him. It’s about improving everyone, and that’s what has been happening so far.

Rafa Benitez

Darlow had been in goal up to Dubravka’s arrival at St James’s Park.

However, Newcastle manager Benitez, preparing his players for Saturday’s home game against Huddersfield Town, believes that the 27-year-old has benefitted from the signing of Dubravka, whose move could be made permanent in the summer.

Asked about the response of Darlow and Rob Elliot – who is recovering from a back injury – to the arrival of Dubravka, Benitez said: “They’ve been fine – it’s been good for them.

“Darlow’s improved a lot in terms of the little things that he can see Martin doing.

“Every player can learn from another one – especially keepers, because they’re there together all the time.

“They can look and see ‘ah, maybe he’s doing that, perhaps I can do this, or that’.

“So I think it’s been positive for him. It’s about improving everyone, and that’s what has been happening so far.”

Elliot – who took the No 1 jersey from Tim Krul last summer – last played for the club on December 27.

The 31-year-old – who didn’t travel to Spain with his team-mates earlier this month for the club’s training camp and friendly against Royal Antwerp – is close to a comeback.

“I was talking with the doctor,” said Benitez. “Still, he’s progressing, and that’s why we did not take him to Spain.

“He and (Jesus) Gamez stayed at Newcastle to work with the physios and the fitness coach.

“We have to wait a little bit for them, but maybe by the start of next month they will be back.”

Meanwhile, Dubravka, 29, is being assessed by United after making the long journey back from Thailand, where he had been on international duty with Slovakia.