Subtitled: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love (Or At Least Somewhat Trust) Rob Elliot
I don't think that I am the only one who at this time two days ago would have answered the question "Who is the most indispensable player on the Newcastle United roster at this time?" with an answer such as "Yohan Cabaye" or "Fabricio Coloccini". I know that I wouldn't have thought to answer "Tim Krul" as I wouldn't have thought much about the chance that Tim wouldn't be available. In the words of 80's hair metal band Cinderalla, you don't know what you've got till it's gone. It is, of course, a cruel twist of fate that this injury comes as our number 1 has been rounding back into his world-beating best that we saw last season.
The injury has happened (regardless of what you think about how it occurred), and Alan Pardew was forced into making a quick announcement of which of his backups would take the gloves for the next 5 weeks. Many would have thought that the call would go to Steve Harper, who deputized capably earlier this season when Krul returned from his first stint as the Netherlands number 1 with an elbow injury. The job has gone, instead, to £100,000 acquisition Rob Elliot. I have not made a reputation of being a great fan of the former Southampton man. If you would like to review my distaste for the player, look here. and here. also here.
At a certain point, however, I began to come around on him just a bit. Actually I know exactly when this occurred:
You may remember this match - it was the final stop on the Alan Pardew: The Kids AREN'T Alright Tour and may have been the precipitate that caused Mike Ashley to open the purse strings in the January transfer window. I wrote this about Mr. Elliot in this match in my reaction:
Rob Elliot: A far sight from the player I'd wanted out of the club on a rail this time last year. Kept the club in it with several vital saves in the first half. A little slow off the line for my liking.
The 2-0 scoreline in this match was flattering on us - we were completely played off the pitch by Bordeaux. The scoreline, but for Rob Elliot, could have been much worse. (As long as we're splitting hairs, he should have committed to taking the cross that led to their first goal, but I can completely understand demurring to James Perch and trusting him to clear the cross). Although there is room to criticize his last first team action, there is much more to be heartened by. He was indeed a far sight from the player that let in two horrible goals against Nottingham Forest in last year's FA Cup... and as such, he's going to get the benefit of my doubt... for now.