Martin Dubravka has admitted that it was difficult for Steve Bruce to follow in the footsteps of Rafa Benitez after the Spaniard left Newcastle United in the summer.
Bruce’s appointment was met with widespread disappointment and anger from the Newcastle supporters although the ex-Sunderland boss has managed to pick up four points in his first four matches in charge, including an impressive 1-0 win away at Tottenham.
Dubravka is happy that he has managed to keep hold of his number one spot at St James’ Park since the change of management as Benitez is the man who brought him to England in January 2018 on an initial loan deal that was later made permanent.
The Slovakia international has not understated just how popular Benitez was among the Newcastle squad.
“It is important to me that my position has not changed. I’m continuing (to play) and I’m happy about it,” Dubravka told Slovakian newspaper Pravda.
“It would be difficult for any coach coming after Benitez because he has a name. People loved him there. Bruce was given the opportunity. It is challenging and he strives to motivate us very much in both matches and training.”
Dubravka is someone who will no doubt look back on his career and owe a lot to Benitez for bringing him to the Premier League, instantly making him his number one goalkeeper and properly establish himself as Slovakia’s first-choice. The 6ft 3 [transfermarkt] colossus has been a great signing for Newcastle and although his form has been a bit iffy in 2019 compared to how it was in 2018, he is still one of the best goalkeepers outside the Premier League’s top-six. A change of management is never likely to have much of an impact on a goalkeeper’s job. At the end of the day, Dubravka’s job is to keep the ball out of the back of the net no matter who manages him. However the change of atmosphere and mood around the Newcastle camp in the summer when Benitez and a few key players left must have been hard to take. Luckily the side is starting to get results after a slow start and players like Dubravka are starting to improve on a weekly basis.