Rob Elliot reacts to the ‘honour’ of being handed Newcastle’s No 1 jersey

Rob Elliot
Rob Elliot

Rob Elliot started the season in goal for Newcastle United – and he’s determined to stay between the posts.

Rafa Benitez handed the 31-year-old the club’s No 1 jersey on the eve of the season.

Elliot, however, knows that Benitez is keen to sign another experienced goalkeeper before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.

And the Republic of Ireland international, chosen to play against Tottenham Hotspur last weekend ahead of Karl Darlow, is focused on doing everything he can to keep his place.

“I’ve just got to make sure I do what I can every week to stay in the team,” said Elliot, who will be in goal for tomorrow’s Premier League game against Huddersfield Town at the John Smith’s Stadium.

“When you come back (from injury), you always want to play.

Rob Elliot has fought off competition from Karl Darlow for the No1 jersey.

Rob Elliot has fought off competition from Karl Darlow for the No1 jersey.

“The manager’s given me the No 1 shirt, which is a massive honour, and he gave me the nod (against Tottenham).

“I’ll keep trying to improve my performances and help the team going forward. It’s a long time since I play (regularly).

“I played a few times at the end of last season and I’m just trying to get back into it myself and make sure I’m ready each week.”

Elliot – who has succeeded long-serving Tim Krul as the club’s No 1 – was on the bench for the last meeting between Newcastle and Huddersfield in March.

The manager’s given me the No 1 shirt, which is a massive honour.

Rob Elliot

Benitez’s side beat David Wagner’s side 3-1 at the John Smith’s Stadium just four days after defeating promotion rivals Brighton and Hove Albion.

“It’ll be a tough game,” said Elliot. “We played them last season. They’re technically very good and have a good system. They play with high intensity.

“We’re going to have to spoil the party. We had a great mentality away from home last year and hopefully we can continue that.”

Tottenham beat Newcastle 2-0 last Sunday. The game turned on Jonjo Shelvey’s dismissal early in the second half.

Reflecting on the defeat, Elliot said: “The first 50 minutes – 11 versus 11 – was very even. We knew they’d have a couple of chances, but I thought our gameplan worked really well.

“The lads who came on stuck to it. We feel like we haven’t had a fair crack at it for the last 40-odd minutes.

“There were a lot of positives to take, and I don’t think it was a true reflection of our team, but it summed up our mentality and the attitude we have.

“Tottenham are a fantastic team. They’re in the Champions League. So when you do go down to 10 men you could argue it’s only a matter of time before they score, but at 10 men we showed good resilience. The lads can hold their heads up.

“We’ll work on the positives and the negatives. Hopefully, we can push on to Huddersfield and get the season moving forward.”

Newcastle also had to cope with the loss of Florian Lejeune and Paul Dummett to injuries.

“The lads that come on did well. Chancel (Mbemba) and Jamaal (Lascelles) did fantastic, and to have that quality to come on was massive,” said Elliot.