Martin Dubravka has revealed he was informed only two hours before kick-off that he’d be making his Newcastle debut against Manchester United.
Rafa Benitez decided to hand Dubravka a baptism of fire by dropping Karl Darlow and installing the 29-year-old between the sticks for the visit of Jose Mourinho’s side to St James’ Park on Sunday.
Dubravka responded with a clean sheet and a man-of-the-match performance to help his new club record a first home win in eight games and climb up to 13th in the Premier League table.
But the Slovakia international wasn’t expecting to line up against the Red Devils and admits he was delighted to make a such strong first impression on the Magpies supporters.
“Actually, two hours before the game. I didn’t know that I would play,” Dubravka revealed to the Chronicle
“It was an amazing feeling for me, because we won against a very strong team. I’m very happy that we won as a team. We worked hard in training. We tried to do our best.
“It was very important for me. When you are in a new club and trying to do your best and show people that you deserve to be here, it’s very important.”
Newcastle have the option to keep Dubravka on a permanent basis with reports suggesting it would cost less than £4 million to sign him from Sparta Prague.