Martin Dubravka has become the second Newcastle United player to be released from international duty.
Fabian Schar was the first last week, leaving the Switzerland squad due to an adductor problem. The defender did not feature against England on Saturday.
Dubravka has been away with Slovakia, but was not involved in their 2-0 defeat to Norway on Friday night. And that’s because of illness according to head coach Stefan Tarkovic.
“I am very sorry that two more players have to leave [the squad],” he said, as quoted by The Mag.
“Martin Dubravka suspects angina [throat infection]. Our doctors started antibiotic treatment for him.”
These comments about Dubravka are certainly concerning. It’s unclear whether or not he’ll be fit for Newcastle’s game on Sunday with Tottenham.
And those doubts could open the door for Karl Darlow.
Karl Darlow was replaced by Martin Dubravka in November
While Newcastle have flourished since Eddie Howe arrived, it hasn’t been quite as straightforward for Darlow.
The 31-year-old started the first game of Howe’s tenure, but conceded three times in a 3-3 draw with Brentford. He was criticised that afternoon for his performance, and lost his place the following week.
On November 27th, the Magpies took on Arsenal at the Emirates, and Dubravka made his first Premier League appearance of the season. He’s played every single minute since.
But his place in the starting XI is suddenly under threat – simply down to illness. Dubavka’s performances have been good in 2022, despite constant speculation that he could be replaced in the summer.
Howe reportedly wants more competition in between the sticks, which is hardly a ringing endorsement of Darlow.
So if Dubravka is ruled out of the trip to Spurs, Darlow will get the chance to prove Howe has all the competition he needs.
The former Forest man has impressed for Newcastle in the past – particularly last season where he nearly won an England callup.
While he isn’t on Dubravka’s level, most fans won’t be concerned if Darlow has to start against Tottenham on Sunday. He’s more than capable of stepping up and delivering.