Is He Still At Newcastle?

Last updated : 04 June 2019 By Footy Mad - Editor

Rob Elliot's Newcastle United first-team future appears bleak - unless manager Rafa Benitez refuses to sign a new deal.

After finding himself relegated to fourth-choice goalkeeper before being transfer-listed in January, Elliot spent the final few weeks of the 2018/19 season training at the Academy with the Under-23s after Benitez opted to move the 33-year-old to Little Benton.

And his presence was so low-key, to be honest, I thought he had left the club!

Elliot's most recent first-team appearance came in December 2017 - and, not only has Martin Dubravka established himself as the undisputed No 1 at Newcastle, but Karl Darlow is Benitez's preferred back-up, while Freddie Woodman has also leapfrogged the Republic of Ireland international in the pecking order.

The goalkeeper situation is complicated, given that all of the shot-stoppers (bar Dubravka) are about to enter the final year of their respective deals, and the uncertainty over both the takeover and Benitez's future has postponed the decision over whether any of those three will depart this summer.

Benitez has explored the possibility of bringing in another quality goalkeeper who can compete with Slovakia international Dubravka for a starting role, should the Spaniard stay in charge.

Both Paris Saint-Germain shot-stopper Kevin Trapp - who spent last season on loan at Eintracht Frankfurt - and Nice goalkeeper Walter Benitez have been linked with the Magpies, and it is understood that Newcastle's scouts have watched a number of shot-stoppers across Europe over the course of the past six months.

Benitez does not view Elliot as part of his first-team squad going forward and, during the final few weeks of the season, sent the Irishman to train with the Under-23s so that he only had players with a genuine chance of playing taking part in sessions.

The Republic of Ireland international is settled on Tyneside and would prefer to stay at Newcastle, though Elliot's best chance of having a long-term future at St James' Park will be if Benitez departs, as a new manager may decide the 33-year-old's experience could prove invaluable to them.

Darlow, meanwhile, is keen for regular gametime and the 28-year-old may need to leave United in order to earn a No 1 spot elsewhere.