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27th Sep, 2016 | 2:58pm

Rafa Benitez predicts great future for under-fire Newcastle ace

By Will Butcher

Rafa Benitez believes that goalkeeper Matz Sels will prove his worth at St James’ Park after receiving criticism from Newcastle fans.

The 24-year-old has deleted his Twitter account after being targeted by fans for criticism following Aston Villa’s late equaliser on Saturday. Sels was believed to be at fault for the goal, as Newcastle failed to deal with a corner and Aaron Tshibola headed in to draw 1-1.

Speaking in his press conference before Wednesday night’s top-of-the-table Championship encounter against Norwich, Benitez was quoted by the Shields Gazette’s Newcastle writer Miles Starforth on his personal Twitter account as saying “I think he has a great future.”

The former Real Madrid manager has guided the Toon to a playoff place after nine games, picking up five wins along the way with former Gent goalkeeper Sels keeping four clean sheets.

However, Benitez has refused to rule out a start for second goalkeeper Karl Darlow, after the former Nottingham Forest stopper kept two clean sheets in his two starts.

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Sels was the first signing in manager Rafa Benitez’s revolution this summer, joining for around £4.5million after an impressive spell in Belgium with Gent.

The former Lierse goalkeeper put pen to paper on a five-year deal at St. James’ Park, and was even called up to the Belgium squad for the first time to face Spain and Cyprus, but failed to come off the bench.

A win against Norwich will reduce the deficit between the two sides to just one point, with the Toon potentially moving up to the second automatic promotion spot if results go their way.

In other Newcastle news, fans have reacted on Twitter after former manager Sam Allardyce’s future as England boss plunged into doubt.