Can Newcastle’s £4m gem avoid same fate as Swiss defender?

Martin Dubravka of Newcastle United. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
Martin Dubravka of Newcastle United. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images) /

Newcastle United fans are hoping Martin Dubravka does not miss a beat when he returns to action.

Martin Dubravka quickly earned the reputation as the most underrated goalkeeper in the Premier League since he made his Newcastle United debut against Manchester United in January, 2018. With 26 clean sheets in 88 appearances, as well as 261 saves and only nine errors leading to goals, Dubravka’s great form between the sticks is integral for Newcastle United.

Karl Darlow has done a good job as his replacement, but the Englishman, who could be on Gareth Southgate’s radar for England, wants to keep Dubravka on the bench. The Slovakian shot stopper was supposed to be laced up and ready to go around Matchweek Four, but he experienced a setback during the recovery process.

There is no clear timetable on his return, but for now the speculation is that December is the target month. Darlow has certainly done enough to spark true competition in that critical position, but on the basis of talent the job should eventually shift back to Dubravka, who did not miss a single Premier League game prior to his injury.

The important thing for Dubravka, however, is to pick up where he left off. The Slovakian’s awareness, athleticism, and overall football acumen contributed to his success on Tyneside, but he needs to come back with the same motivation. His teammate Fabian Schar has been struggling with that since the second half of last season.

Schar was once praised as the best defender at Newcastle United because of his confrontational style of play, good field vision, and his ability score multiple goals on the other end. His injury last season opened the door for Federico Fernandez and the Argentine has not looked back since.

Schar’s confidence has taken a hit as a result of losing his place in the lineup, and that has also led to noticeable inconsistency. Schar’s poor form in defense has forced Steve Bruce to shift him into midfield to give him some opportunities on the pitch, and there is plenty of competition in that area as well.

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Dubravka does not have that luxury, though. In order for Dubravka to win back his place, and keep it, he needs to perform at an elite level. The pressure to perform is there, but Dubravka’s mentality is what will determine his fate.