Alan Shearer was left raving about Newcastle United goalkeeper Karl Darlow for his latest display on Wednesday night against Liverpool.
The 30-year-old delivered yet another man of the match performance this season by helping the Magpies record a 0-0 draw against reigning champions Liverpool at St James’ Park.
Despite being under some real pressure for spells, Steve Bruce’s men stood firm defensively and even had a couple of notable chances themselves in attack to try snatch three points.
The Magpies supporters are still disappointed after being dumped out of the Carabao Cup in the quarter-finals by Championship side Brentford, but the team showed much more intent and heart in midweek.
Newcastle legend Shearer picked out English shot-stopper Darlow as someone who was “big and strong” with his performance in goal against Liverpool.
He’s capitalised massively on his chance in net this season by performing at such a consistently high level and he earned his clean sheet against Liverpool with some eye-catching reflex saves.
“[Liverpool] had some really good chances, but for poor finishing, and some exceptional goalkeeping from Karl Darlow,” Shearer told Amazon Prime Sport (10:02pm, 30 December).
“He should be very, very proud of his performance. When required, he came up with the goods. He was big and strong. He just kept them out. There was no way they were going to get past him this evening.
“The defenders in front of him had to work extremely hard, but when they got past the defenders he was just exceptional, superb.”
If Martin Dubravka hadn’t suffered an injury in the first place, then it’s likely he would still be the Newcastle number one and there would have been no need for discussions about the goalkeeper position on Tyneside.
But Darlow has played every single league minute this season and a strong case can be made to say he’s been the player of the season so far.
He’s had to be patient at St James’ Park, but it looks impossible for manager Bruce to drop him right now and Dubravka may need to wait his turn now after returning to the bench from injury in the previous game.