Days of Newcastle being '˜stepping stone' for players is gone, says Mags star

Rob Elliot is forecasting 'exciting' times ahead for Newcastle United under Rafa Benitez '“ and a new owner.

Monday, 23rd October 2017, 6:44 am
Updated Monday, 11th December 2017, 9:12 pm
Newcastle United's Mikel Merino celebrates scoring the winner.

Mike Ashley formally put the club up for sale last week.

A number of potential buyers are in talks with United’s hierarchy – and a deal could be done by Christmas.

Ashley – who bought Newcastle a decade ago – revealed in August that he was unwilling to put any more money into the club, which has been relegated twice under his ownership.

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And fans are hopeful that an ambitious owner can be found who is prepared to back Benitez in the transfer market.

Elliot and his team-mates beat Crystal Palace 1-0 at St James’s Park on Saturday to move up to sixth place in the Premier League.

And the goalkeeper is hopeful that a buyer willing to “take the club forward” can be found.

“There’s obviously interest, which is exciting for everyone,” said Elliot.

“Hopefully, someone comes in who can take the club forward, which will be great. Hopefully, it’s a great thing for the club all round, so the club can kick on.

“The infrastructure is fantastic. As players, we can’t do a lot about it, we just watch the telly and read the papers like everyone else, but we just hope everything works out for the club, because we’ve been through a lot these past few years.

“But there’s now a positive vibe around the place, and we’ve got to make sure we continue with that.

“We want this to be a long term thing, where we’re always looking forward and not back.”

Former United players Yohan Cabaye and Andros Townsend were in the Palace side. The pair chose to leave St James’s Park to further their careers.

Elliot, however, believes that Newcastle is no longer a stepping stone for players.

“This club is definitely not a stepping club any more, and it should never be,” said Elliot.

“Those days are gone now. The players here are all young, all hungry, but most importantly they are all wanting to play for this club.

“Last year, players left the Premier League to come and play for this club in the Championship, and that shows the size of us and also the fact the manager is here, the age of the players coming in.

“They’re here to develop and get better and take the club forward. We’re now in the top half of the league, and we can keep developing that, not just for this season, but hopefully for more to come.”

Newcastle: Elliot, Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Manquillo, Hayden (Merino 56), Shelvey, Ritchie, Perez (Diame 66), Atsu, Joselu (Mitrovic 78). Subs not used: Clark, Murphy, Darlow, Gamez. Booked: Lejeune, Lascelles, Manquillo, Joselu. Goal: Merino 86

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Ward, Dann, Sakho, Van Aanholt, McArthur (Sako 88), Cabaye, Milivojevic, Schlupp, Townsend, Zaha (Loftus-Cheek 77). Subs not used: Tomkins, Hennessey, Fosu-Mensah, Puncheon, Riedewald. Booked: Cabaye, Van Aanholt.

Att: 52,251

Ref: Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire).