Karl Darlow and Freddie Woodman deserve Newcastle chance as Rob Elliot struggles

Rafael Benitez, Manager of Newcastle United looks on prior to the Premier League match between Southampton and Newcastle United at St Mary's Stadium on October 15, 2017 in Southampton,...

Rob Elliot has been at fault for a number of goals this season. It is time for Newcastle to turn to their very capable reserves.

Manolo Gabbiadini of Southampton scores their second goal from the penalty spot during the Premier League match between Southampton and Newcastle United at St Mary's Stadium on October 15,...

Newcastle United were dominant against Southampton on Sunday, but the fear was always that the hosts would take their chances when they came at St Mary's - and they did.

Goalkeeper Rob Elliot has so far avoided universal criticism in the early weeks of this season, despite being at least partly at fault for a number of goals against the Magpies.

Both Xherdan Shaqiri and Philippe Coutinho benefited from the Republic of Ireland international's poor positioning and slow footwork, while the same was true of Manolo Gabbiadini's first goal on Sunday.

Robert Elliot of Newcastle United during the Premier League match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Newcastle United at Amex Stadium on September 24, 2017 in Brighton, England.

Elliot is capable in one-on-one situations but, as well as struggling with shots from the edge of the box, his distribution has been wasteful and his command of the area non-existent.

What makes these difficulties so bizarre is that Rafa Benitez has alternative options in reserve, with both Karl Darlow and Freddie Woodman potential Premier League goalkeepers.

Darlow starred in the Championship last season before bizarrely losing his place to Elliot, while Woodman won the Under-20 World Cup with England in the summer and has huge potential.

Newcastle's 17 year old substitute goalkeeper Freddie Woodman in action before the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Everton at St James' Park on December 28, 2014...

Both players must be frustrated as they see Elliot continue to make basic errors in the first team.

Surely the time has come for Benitez to hand a chance to one of his two understudies, with Woodman - in particular - set to be a key man in the future.

To risk upsetting a top prospect while retaining a keeper who is floundering in the top flight would make little sense and will only continue to cost Newcastle points this season.

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