Eddie Howe now explains why £4m player was not involved against AC Milan after mystery absence

Eddie Howe now explains why Martin Dubravka was mysteriously absent vs AC Milan

When the Newcastle United team to face AC Milan in the Champions League was announced on Tuesday afternoon, there was a mixture of excitement and surprise.

It was brilliant to see local lads Dan Burn and Sean Longstaff start at the San Siro, but it was a surprise to see Jacob Murphy get the nod. He was deployed on the right wing for the Champions League opener, and could not hide his excitement when the famous European anthem started playing before kickoff.

However, there was another surprise that went largely unnoticed by Newcastle fans.

It was expected that Nick Pope would be backed up by Loris Karius and Martin Dubravka, but the latter was nowhere to be seen.

Instead, Eddie Howe named 16-year-old Aidan Harris on the bench. He was one of three teenagers in the squad, alongside Lewis Miley and Lewis Hall.

Immediately following the game, there was no explanation given as to why Harris was on the bench instead of Dubravka, but now Howe has explained what happened.

Martin Dubravka missed AC Milan game due to illness

Ahead of Newcastle’s game against Sheffield United, Howe has spoke to the media. He explained why the £4million man missed Tuesday night’s clash with AC Milan.

Newcastle United - Martin Dúbravka to miss start of Premier League season with heel injury

“He was feeling unwell,” he said.


Newcastle’s goalkeeping mystery solved

So that explains it! It seemed very odd at the time when Dubravka was absent, and the fact that no explanation was given made it all the more mysterious.

But now we know that Dubravka was ill – there was nothing more to it.


In the end, it made no difference. Newcastle did not need to change their goalkeeper. Pope played brilliantly, and was the Magpies’ best player at the San Siro. He made eight saves on the night, and should have been given the Player Of The Match award ahead of Rafael Leao.

While Dubravka will have been disappointed to miss out, it must have been an incredible experience for young Aidan Harris. Hopefully we see more of him in the future.

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