Rob Elliot has revealed that a total lack of game time made him fall out of love with the game last year, but he’s not given up on his career at Newcastle United just yet.
Many Newcastle fans may not realise that Elliot is still on the books at St James’ Park – and you’d excuse them for thinking so given his last appearance came in our 1-0 defeat to Manchester City in December 2017.
The 33-year-old has rarely been included in matchday squads and hasn’t played for over 18 months now, with him behind Martin Dubravka, Karl Darlow, and arguably Freddie Woodman in the pecking order on Tyneside.
In a rare interview, here’s what the club’s forgotten man had to say about his situation over the past year and a half:
“You never know, but I really hope I haven’t played my last game for the club,”
“That’s the life of a goalie, unfortunately. I don’t have to talk about how much I love it here and I love playing for the club. To play for Newcastle is what I want to do.
“I sort of fell out of love with football in the last year or so, but I’ve found that desire and love again. I’ve been really enjoying training.
“I came back to pre-season and got knocked out and ruptured my shoulder on the first day with a collision, an accident.
“At the time, I was just like ‘is this my luck? You start to question if you even want to play football anymore”
Benitez told Elliot to leave for the sake of his career, with the Irish international admitting he chose the naive decision to stay.
He does, however, state that he has found a new lease of life under Bruce, despite not featuring this season:
“To be fair, and I’m not just saying it, the atmosphere the new manager and coaches have created … I’ve loved it.
“I’ve thrived, and I’ve really enjoyed training.
“I’m getting myself back to where I was. So, from a personal point of view, that’s a plus for me.
“It’s been quite a tough year and a half.”
It is easy to listen to Rob’s comments and feel sympathy towards his situation, but Rafa Benitez’s decision to bring in Martin Dubravka has proved to be one of his best decisions at NUFC.
Elliot’s contract expires at the end of the season and it is highly unlikely that it will be extended beyond that point, but he has had his moments for the club and rarely let us down during his stints in the side – even if his latter years have been somewhat forgettable.