By Matt Farr
Newcastle coach Peter Beardsley has hailed the outstanding performance of goalkeeper Matz Sels during an appearance for the Under 23s on Saturday.
The 25-year-old stopper has fallen down the pecking order at St. James’ Park this season, and was granted permission by Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez to appear for the reserve side against West Ham at the weekend.
But it was the discarded first teamer that played a starring role during Newcastle Under 23’s victory, making a series of important saves to maintain their advantage.
An impressive display from senior winger Sammy Ameobi was also a defining factor, as Newcastle ran out 3-2 winners; but Beardsley reserved particular praise for his star goalkeeper.
He told the club’s official website: “Matz couldn’t do anything with either of the goals. The first was a penalty, and the second was a clear header – it was bad marking from us.
“He was outstanding. He made some great saves, some great blocks, kicks the ball well, and he plays how we want him to play.”
Sels was brought in by Benitez in the summer and began the campaign as Newcastle’s No.1 goalkeeper.
However, after keeping just three clean sheets from his first nine Championship games of the season, Sels was axed in favour of Karl Darlow.
The Belgian stopper has since been restricted to just cup appearances, with Darlow establishing himself as the new and undisputed No.1 goalkeeper.
Meanwhile, Rob Elliot has also returned from injury to reclaim his place in the matchday squad, relieving Sels of his duties as Darlow’s deputy.
But his latest display for the Under 23 side could tempt Benitez to recall Sels to his first-team squad during the remaining eight games of the season.
In other Newcastle news, the Magpies are ready to move for this Manchester United outcast after a decision is made on his future.