Benitez: If new signing gets stronger, he will be a major Newcastle asset
By Tom Blackburn
Rafa Benitez is convinced new signing Matz Sels will fit perfectly into English football if he can get stronger.
Sels signed at the end of June for a reported £4.5million, amid reports that Tim Krul could be heading on his way out of the club.
Talking to the Shield Gazette, Benitez praised the shotstopper’s previous campaign but said he must make tweaks to his game.
“Matz was the best keeper in Belgium in the last season,” Benitez said. “Obviously, we have to wait and see how he adapts to the Championship and the English style.
“He has the physicality. He wants to adapt and to cope with the strikers. You have to be strong. It’s little things you have to adapt. I think he will be fine.”
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With doubts over the future of Krul and Rob Elliot still recovering from a serious knee injury, Sels is set to battle for the No1 spot.
Karl Darlow impressed as a stand-in for the final weeks of the 2015-16 season but Sels has the pedigree to be the first-choice at St James’ Park.
Sels is yet to earn an international cap for his country, but he was in the Euro 2016 preliminary squad before he narrowly missed the final cut.
The shot-stopper starred for Gent in the recently completed season, making 53 appearances in all competitions and conceding just 57 goals.
This included eight appearances in the Champions League where the Belgian side were knocked out by Wolfsburg in the round of 16.
In other Newcastle news, Benitez has delivered Newcastle defender update and revealed a deal could be done by Wednesday.