Martin Dubravka’s opened up on his Newcastle United future – after making rare appearance in goal.
Dubravka made his first Premier League start of the season in yesterday’s final game of the campaign against Chelsea.
The 32-year-old – who spent the first half of the season on loan at Manchester United – made three important saves in the club’s 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge.
Dubravka was handed a start after Nick Pope, signed from Burnley last summer, had surgery on his fingers last week.
Eddie Howe wants to keep The Slovakia international – who had been the United’s first-choice goalkeeper before Pope’s arrival – at the club next season, when the club will be playing in the Champions League.
And Dubravka, under contract for two more years, addressed his future at Stamford Bridge, where a goal from Anthony Gordon was cancelled out by a Kieran Trippier own goal.
“I think it’s normal everyone who has ambition wants to play,” said Dubravka. “But I’m still part of the journey and part of the team which is successful. I don’t know what’s going to happen after the summer, obviously.
“I had a conversation with Eddie. We had an open conversation about the future.
“It’s hard to say now, because it’s the end of the season now, and no-one really knows what will happen. It’s hard to give you some answers.
“Now I just want to switch off. I have two international games to focus on. That’s my priority now.”
Howe had addressed Dubravka’s future ahead of the Chelsea game.
“I very much hope his future’s here,” said United’s head coach.
“I rate Martin very highly. I always have done. It’s just last summer we had the opportunity to recruit Nick, and he’s done incredibly well. It’s been difficult for Martin to get the game time that he wants.
“But we need as good a squad as we can have gone into a season where we’re going to have loads of games. If Martin were to stay, I think he’ll get a lot of football.”
Dubravka made two first-half saves at Stamford Bridge, and he also made an important intervention late in the game as Chelsea pushed for a winner, on what was his 133rd appearance for the club he joined, initially on loan, from Sparta Prague in January 2018.
“I enjoyed being on the pitch,” said Dubravka. “I think it was a very interesting game.
“I tried to do my best, so I was happy I could help the team (with my saves). It was a pity we didn’t win, because I think there was a couple of opportunities where, if we are more clinical, we can score goals.”
Howe was “pleased” with Dubravka’s performance.
“Very good,” said Howe. “Very pleased with Martin. He’s shown again he’s a very capable goalkeeper, and he’s been very unfortunate to be behind Nick this year.”
Newcastle had lost on their previous 10 visits to Stamford Bridge, but the club, which finished fourth in the Premier League, has now overtaken big-spending Chelsea.
“This is the reality of the whole season,” said Dubravka, who played Champions League football earlier in his career. “You can tell that from the first game to the last one.
“We were just working hard, doing everything in every match. We picked up the results.
“I also think people enjoyed watching our games, we were attractive (to watch). It’s important for the future.”