Newcastle United goalkeeper Karl Darlow has jumped at the opportunity to deputise for Martin Dubrabka during the 2020/21 campaign – leaving Steve Bruce facing a big decision.
The Slovakian stopper has missed the entire season so far and a setback in his recovery means he might not be back until December.
Newcastle, however, have a player in Darlow who is determined to make up for years of frustration playing second – and sometimes third, fiddle at St. James’ Park.
Highlights of his season so far have included a Man of the Match display against Tottenham and more recently saving a penalty from Bruno Fernandes during a defeat to Manchester United,
Darlow arrived at Newcastle in 2015 along with Jamaal Lascelles, with the duo joining from Championship outfit Nottingham Forest.
He was the first-choice goalkeeper when Newcastle won promotion to the Premier League during the 2016/17 campaign, playing 34 times for the Magpies.
Whilst Newcastle have been in the top-flight, however, he has largely been viewed as a deputy – until now.
Injury has, of course, forced Bruce’s hand and if Dubravka had been fit, Darlow would probably have stayed on the bench.
At 30 though, the former Forest man has matured nicely and he’s handing the Magpies boss a serious headache.
There isn’t a goalkeeper in the top five European top-flight divisions who has made more saves this season than Darlow and he’s arguably in the form of his life.
It would be seriously cruel for the Newcastle man to be dropped and he will take some confidence from his form so far.
If he continues this form until December when Dubravka is expected to be back, the Magpies boss will be forced to make a decision – and a tough one at that.