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Elliot willing to ‘work hard’ for Newcastle United Premier League bow

It can’t be easy being a back-up goalkeeper in the Premier League, watching your team mates do well and biding your time to impress once given the opportunity.

But Newcastle United’s Rob Elliot is determined to keep working hard and be patient as he awaits his Premier League debut for the Magpies.

Making the move up to the North East from Charlton Athletic in August 2011, 26-year-old Elliot was signed on the advice given by Alan Pardew who worked with the stopper during his two year spell in charge at the East London-based club.

Elliot (pictured) who racked up more than 90 appearances for the Addicks commands a wealth of experience in the Football League and has enjoyed a number of loan spells away at Notts County and Accrington Stanley respectively.

Making his sole Toon Army appearance to date in a League Cup tie at Nottingham Forest last season, Elliot is determined to feature more prominently in the first team and mimic the rise of current number one Tim Krul who similarly bided his time patiently under the wing of Steve Harper.

Total Football’s Taylor Williams caught up with Elliot to chat about his career thus far, his personal ambitions going forward and where exactly Newcastle United and his former club Charlton Athletic can go in 2012/13.

Newcastle have started the season well with the 2-1 victory over Tottenham. How high is the belief in the camp that you can go and replicate the triumphs of last season?

Yeah, there is no limit. All of our players are professional and still quite young and so we just want to do the best as we possibly can every single year and see where it takes us up the table.

We were the surprise package last year and want to try and do as well again.

You made the move from Charlton Athletic to Newcastle in 2011, what challenges did you have to deal with in making the long move up north?

A lot really. Obviously not being a high profile signing you have to impress a bit more as the lads don’t know too much about you, and not being used to that way of life, it’s long distance but the fans are mad for football in the North East.

This was the first time I had to move away from home permanently, I’ve been on loan a bit which has helped but it is such a friendly place, no big time Charlie’s and if anything the lads are more down to earth than me.

Tim Krul is the current number one at the club at the moment with Steve Harper around the set up too. Tell us Rob, how motivated are you to keep working hard as you never know when your chance may come?

Like you say, I just want to do the best I can, I’m still learning so I want to learn and get better every day and I feel more than confident enough that I can play in the Premier League after being here for a year.

I just need to be patient, work hard and get better and better and as long as the manager and coaching staff trust me which I hope they do, it will be fine, especially after having a taste last year.

You played in the League Cup game at Nottingham Forest last season, how did that feel?

It was brilliant. I had literally just signed for the team but things can happen so easily in football sometimes.

The atmosphere of playing for a club like Newcastle was great and sometimes playing so soon after signing is good as there is less pressure but I just want to play as many games as I can and get into the first team.

As a number two you have to be patient and our number one Tim Krul is doing exceptionally well at the moment but all you can do is keep working hard and you will get your chance sooner or later.

You worked with Alan Pardew during his stint at Charlton Athletic. How important was he in persuading you to join up with the Magpies?

Yeah, I’m sure he would have played a part in getting me here. He will give you praise all the time, he wants you to get better and I’m sure he had a big say in my move obviously being the manager of Charlton for a few years but I think he’s always liked my character.

Obviously sometimes if you bring in new players that don’t play, you don’t want to bring in somebody that will be throwing tantrums - you want somebody that will be patient and work hard and this is what I think I do.

Rob, you’ve played youth football for the Republic of Ireland. Do you still harbour international ambitions yourself?

Yeah, I played for Ireland as a kid as half of my family are Irish and I want to play international football.

About five years ago, the goalkeepers in the England set-up were nailed on whereas now apart from Joe Hart and we’ve got Jack Butland and John Ruddy who’ve done really well, there seems to be some chance that if a keeper comes in and does well there’s a chance of a call-up.

Obviously with me it’s one step at a time but as a kid you want to play for your country and you’ve got to work hard, hoping that that’s the end result.

From afar we always perceive Newcastle and the Geordie nation to have fanatical and an incredible level of support. Tell us more about what it is like to represent Newcastle and play your football up there?

Yeah, coming from down south you always think of football mad Geordies who are crazy about their football but until you live in it and are in that ‘fishbowl’ as they call it up here, you can’t appreciate how mental it is.

We had hundreds of kids at the training ground today trying to get autographs and that’s like the tip of the iceberg and given where the club has gone in the last few years, the fans have inherited like a new team almost and I think the biggest thing now and what every football fan wants is an honest team that works hard and I think that’s what they can see with us.

We’ve really made the connection again between fans and club, and they can see that everyone wants to be there and if fans see that then they may forgive any lack of quality but at the moment we seem to have all the quality and we seem to have bags of effort as well so at the moment things are going really well. It’s great to have the fans spirit behind you.

You have plied your trade in the Football League for the majority of your career. What are the biggest differences in contrast to Premier League level?

If you asked me before I came here, I would have said there wasn’t that much difference but until you get here, it’s just a different level, more than you could ever imagine.

The players are fitter, stronger, it’s just everything you need to be a top player, they have it covered in this league.

When I first trained here, the pace was unbelievable. It takes a while to get up to scratch because the players are literally on top of their game every day and in the training sessions, everyone puts in one hundred per cent every week and I think the biggest thing for me is the mental side of it.

Every day you’ve got to train properly, do things in the right way both on and off the pitch and I think that’s why you come and try your hardest for all of these points.

Your old boys Charlton claimed a point at Birmingham at the weekend. How pleased were you to see Chris Powell’s men return to the second tier. What can they achieve this term?

I think the best thing is that Powelly hasn’t changed the squad too much because there are some brilliant players there already and I knew they were going to do something special and even when I was there, there is a great team spirit and I think they can surprise a few people this year.

I definitely think a top half Championship finish is realistic and whether they can do anything more, you just never know.

A couple of teams have gone from League One to Premier League in a short space of time and although they haven’t got the finances Southampton probably had, the actual quality of players Charlton have is fantastic so I have every faith in them.

Obviously I trained with Chris Powell as a kid and he’s turned into a very good manager and I think this year will be a very good learning experience for him and the club and if not this year, maybe promotion will happen in a few seasons time down the line.

By Taylor Williams - Follow me on Twitter @Taylor_Will1989 - Visit my blog - thetrickywinger.blogspot.com

Follow Total Football on Twitter: @TotalFootball12

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