NEWCASTLE boss Eddie Howe claims Loris Karius has been handed a dream chance of resurrecting his crumbling career in Sunday’s Carabao Cup final.
The former Liverpool keeper looks set to start in goal against Manchester United at Wembley after Nick Pope’s red card on Saturday evening.
Karius, 29, suffered a nightmare in the 2018 Champions League final against Real Madrid and has not played a competitive game for two years.
Toon boss Howe said: “It would be a magnificent chance for him to rewrite the story of his career. There’s been loads of stories through the times in football where these things have happened and there’s been a really positive outcome – or not.
“As soon as it happened (Pope’s red card) there was a feeling of whether there was another page in Karius’ career to write. Who knows what that chapter will look like?
“That’s the beauty of football. We never know what is going to happen. This unpredictability is what makes it such an amazing thing to watch.”
Karius is Newcastle’s No3 keeper but No2 Martin Dubravka misses the final as he is Cup tied, having played on loan at Man Utd this season.
German keeper Karius, who spent last year frozen out at Liverpool, received an urgent phone call from Howe on Saturday night following Pope’s dismissal in the 2-0 loss at home to Liverpool.
Karius was in Milan with his girlfriend until Monday but was back training with the squad on Tuesday, along with No4 keeper Mark Gillespie.
Howe said: “I had a chat with Loris on Saturday night. I felt the need to connect with him and speak with him. He was great, very relaxed. That’s the kind of guy he is – a very cool customer.
FREE BETS AND SIGN UP DEALS – BEST NEW CUSTOMER OFFERS
“Mark and Loris are fine. They’re part of a goalkeeping unit that is committed to that work every day, since pre-season started, so they’ve done lots of different things within training this season that people wouldn’t have seen. There have been training games and friendlies. They’ve been involved in all of them. They’re match ready.”
Howe was asked whether he would have done anything differently in hindsight. Knowing his keeper situation, Howe could have started Dubravka against Liverpool on Saturday or maybe not let him go on loan to United.
The Toon boss said: “I think if you go right back to the start of the season you would do things differently. We don’t have that ability to do so.
“We’ve ended up in the situation we’re in. As for the Nick Pope sending off, it’s amazing how these things work. That’s how the footballing gods work.”
Howe also confirmed Newcastle have not appealed against Pope’s red card.
The former Bournemouth boss said: “We won’t be appealing. We looked at the footage and decided it wouldn’t have had a chance of being successful.
“We’ve been thrown a challenge here. Nick’s suspended, he’s been a rock for us but I don’t see the group concerned about that. I just see strength.”