With seven points from their opening four Premier League games, it’s been quite the start for Newcastle United this season.
The Magpies have put in some impressive performances, including some comprehensive wins over West Ham and Burnley in the top-flight, and a 7-0 record thrashing of Morecambe in the Carabao Cup too.
And whilst Allan Saint-Maximin’s star continues to shine at St James’ Park – the Frenchman returned from a brief ankle injury to put in a man-of-the-match display against Burnley last time out – there is one Magpies ace who has arguably been Steve Bruce’s unsung hero this season: Karl Darlow.
The goalkeeper has been the Newcastle’s boss’ go-to man in the opening weeks of the campaign, starting all four Premier League games, after first-choice regular Martin Dubravka was ruled out of action.
And it’s fair to say the 30-year-old has taken his chance with both hands, pulling off some incredible saves and ensuring the Magpies haven’t really missed Dubravka.
His performance against Tottenham in particular, in which he single-handedly kept the Tyneside club in the game as they eventually rescued a point, saw Jose Mourinho lead the tributes after the game.
The Spurs boss said: “I think at half-time, Bruce was super happy with the result at 1-0. He is a very intelligent guy, a very experienced guy and a good friend. He knows football up and down. He knew at half-time, it could have been 3-0 or 4-0. The only thing I wanted to say is my team played very well.
“I think the boy Darlow was the man of the match, unless you want to give it to some other people that are not a player. Their goalkeeper is there to save, he was fantastic.”
The fact that the veteran shot-stopper has been with Newcastle since 2015 when he arrived from Nottingham Forest, and has yet only played 69 total games for the club puts into perspective about how he’s had to wait for his chance to shine.
As the Magpies’ fellow Premier League side Arsenal saw with Emiliano Martinez’s rise following an injury to Bernd Leno, all it takes is a set of circumstances to catapult someone lying in the shadows, into the limelight.
Darlow has been that man for Newcastle.
And in other news, Newcastle can unearth their own Gabriel Martinelli in this starlet.