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Newcastle’s Loris Karius backed to cope with cauldron of Carabao Cup final

Loris Karius is yet to appear for Newcastle since joining the club (Getty Images)
Loris Karius is yet to appear for Newcastle since joining the club (Getty Images)

Eddie Howe believes Loris Karius has the ability and experience to cope if he makes his Newcastle debut in the Carabao Cup final after a “visibly upset” Nick Pope got a red card to rule him out of the meeting with Manchester United at Wembley.

Karius had a traumatic time in the 2018 Champions League final for Liverpool when he was at fault for two goals Real Madrid scored and was concussed.

He will compete with fifth-choice Mark Gillespie, whose only senior football beyond three Newcastle appearances has come for Carlisle, Walsall and Motherwell, to stand in as Pope is suspended after being sent off against Liverpool.

But Howe backed the German, saying: “He has the experience of the big games. I have no doubt or issue about his ability to do that. I have no doubt he and Mark are both in a great physical condition to play. They have all been part of our training.”

Karius joined on a short-term deal in January and could have to play as Pope’s deputy Martin Dubravka, who did not concede against Liverpool, is cup-tied after playing for Manchester United earlier in the competition while on loan, while third-choice Karl Darlow has been borrowed by Hull.

Howe said Karius has done well in his time at St James’ Park, adding: “I have been really impressed. He is a very likeable character, very relaxed but focused in his training.”

He described Karius as the best option in a free-transfer market, explaining: “We were looking in a limited pool of goalkeepers but he was the one that stood out.”

Pope was sent off for handling outside in his box in Newcastle’s 2-0 loss to Liverpool, which ended their club-record run of 17 games without defeat in the top flight.

He will serve a one-match suspension and Howe believes it is harsh it rules him out of the game when Newcastle will hope to win their first major trophy since 1969 and thought referee Simon Hooper may have overreacted to send him off.

Howe said: “I’ve not had a proper word with him but I’ve seen him and he looks visibly upset. He’s been outstanding for us this season.

“These things happen at such high speed. The conditions were difficult with the wind and a slippy surface. Yes, it hit his arm. I thought the red card was harsh and the referee could have given a yellow. He has been magnificent this season. He doesn’t deserve to miss the game but it is what it is.”

Howe does not yet know if Newcastle will appeal the red card and said he does not believe they will be able to recall Darlow.