Newcastle United keeper crisis: who will play in goal in Carabao Cup final vs Manchester United?

Nick Pope and Martin Dubravka are both absent for Newcastle’s cup final showdown against Manchester United

Eddie Howe’s side travel to Wembley Stadium for their first cup final in 24 years without both of their first two goalkeepers as they aim to win the EFL Cup for the first time in the club’s history. First choice goalkeeper Nick Pope was ruled out of the cup final after his red card against Liverpool, while second choice goalkeeper Martin Dubravka is cup tied after a six month loan spell earlier in the campaign with Manchester United.

Elsewhere, the Magpies are also without the likes of Karl Darlow and Freddie Woodman who are both currently on loan in the Championship with no recall clause available. Newcastle are aiming to end their 54 year wait for a trophy in the cup final but who is likely to start in goal for the Magpies in the blockbuster Wembley showdown?

Here is everything you need to know.

Who will play in goal for Newcastle in the Carabao Cup final?

Newcastle United are likely to pick one of Loris Karius or Mark Gillespie to play in the Carabao Cup final against Manchester United. Manager Eddie Howe said: “They are our options. They have started games away from competitive action, several friendlies and training games. I would say that they are both match ready.”

Howe reiterated that he has confidence in those two goalkeepers to start a Wembley final. He added: “That’s what they are in the squad for. I have got to say: I know everyone here won’t have seen how well they have trained, but they are both very competitive and have been part of the group all season.”

Loris Karius

Loris Karius is aiming to make his Newcastle debut at Wembley Stadium. (Getty Images)Loris Karius is aiming to make his Newcastle debut at Wembley Stadium. (Getty Images)
Loris Karius is aiming to make his Newcastle debut at Wembley Stadium. (Getty Images)

Loris Karius is a 29-year-old German goalkeeper who has previously played for Mainz 05, Liverpool, Besiktas and Union Berlin. He was also on the books as a youngster in the Manchester City academy.

Karius is the most likely of the two goalkeepers to start the cup final for Newcastle.

The German goalkeeper joined the Magpies on a free transfer after being released by Liverpool at the end of last season. Karius initially signed a six month contact with the Magpies but that was extended to the end of the season in January.

The 29-year-old is yet to make a competitive appearance for Newcastle and he has not featured in the match day squad since the club’s third round EFL Cup victory against Crystal Palace in November last year.

Karius’s last appearance for an English club came in the 2018 Champions League final for Liverpool against Real Madrid where he made two high-profile errors in a 3-1 defeat.

Karius spent the remainder of his four years at Liverpool out on loan in Turkey and Germany.

Since 2018, Karius has been largely defined by his ill-fated performance against Real Madrid but he now has an opportunity to rebuild his reputation and in the words of Eddie Howe “rewrite the story of his career.”

Prior to the Champions League final Karius was viewed as an up and coming goalkeeper for Liverpool. He was just 25-years old and played in the majority of the games in the league and in Europe.

Before that he had also established himself as a first team regular in the Bundesliga with Mainz 05 and in the 2015/16 season he was voted the league’s second best goalkeeper.

Mark Gillespie

Mark Gillespie signed for Newcastle in 2020. (Getty Images)Mark Gillespie signed for Newcastle in 2020. (Getty Images)
Mark Gillespie signed for Newcastle in 2020. (Getty Images)

The other current contender to start in goal is boyhood Newcastle United fan and academy graduate Mark Gillespie.

Gillespie resigned for the Magpies in 2020 on a free transfer from Motherwell and he has largely been viewed as a back up keeper for the North East club.

The 30-year-old has made just three starts for the Magpies since joining, all of which came in the Carabao Cup during his first season for the club.

Gillespie was initially released from the Newcastle squad in 2008 after eight years in the youth academy. He went on to establish himself as a first team regular with Blyth Spartans, Carlisle, Walsall and Motherwell.