Rob Elliot

In the latest edition of our popular feature, taken from the matchday programme against West Bromwich Albion, United's stars talk candidly about their life on and off the pitch. Next up is goalkeeper Rob Elliot who reveals all about cricket, Cabaye and cockapoos…

 

I am on Twitter (@the_dilsh) and quite enjoy it.

I don't use it every day but I go through stints and love having a bit of banter on there.

It's all light-hearted stuff, nothing topical, and I find it a good way of showing that footballers are normal and have personalities and opinions.

Obviously, you have to be careful with what you say but in the past the only way of hearing from players was through the newspapers.

Now you can say things exactly as you want to and show that you are a normal lad who just plays football for a living.

 

I would like to think I am a grounded person.

You like to enjoy the perks of being a footballer and earning good money, but you still like to do what any other 25-year-old would do.

I make sure I take care of my family - I look after my mum and my sister, and friends when I can.

It doesn't last forever and while I'm in a privileged position like this I want to be able to enjoy it but also be responsible.

Friends and family are very important to me. They have been around when I was number three at Charlton on £150 a week.

I like to keep my close group of friends close to me because they have been there when I wasn't at the top.

My mum raised me on her own and has gone from living in a council flat to being a headteacher at a school, so I'm really proud of her.

 

I have been in Newcastle now for just over a year and have settled in well.

In the first few months I was a bit homesick because I didn't realise how big a change it would be.

John Carver told me it would take a while to get used to being up here, but now I am loving it.

It's a great club full of great people and what I like is that there is no ruler of the dressing room or hierarchy.

Colo, the captain, acts the same with everyone whether they are a top player or a reserve.

It allows the younger players and new signings to just come in and integrate straight away, and that definitely helped me.

 

I sit in between Yohan Cabaye and Romain Amalfitano in the dressing room - so there's not much English spoken there!

Seriously though, Romain couldn't speak a word when he arrived but has got much better, and Cabs has always been quite good with the language. So there's plenty of banter flying around.

Yohan always comes in either in a tracksuit or dressed as the GQ man of the month. He's the man crush of Newcastle isn't he?

Is it tough sitting next to such a good looking man? I don't know - you'll have to ask him…!

 

I love cricket.

It's the complete opposite of football for me. When I play it I can just enjoy it with no pressure attached.

As much as I love playing football too, it is a job, your livelihood and there are certain pressures that come with it.

Football's obviously got its problems, but in cricket you don't talk back to the umpire and get fined for showing dissent, so it keeps it in check.

Me and Harps had a couple of nets sessions with Ponteland during the summer and I played a couple of games as well while we were off.

I'm a fast bowler - well, fast for my level!Being a goalkeeper I'm quite a good fielder, but in the summer I actually dropped my first catch in about five years!

It was a really easy one - I was devastated and it took me ages to get over it!

What made it even worse was that I had been going on about being the best fielder, so I came in for quite a bit of stick!

 

I am the Newcastle United zoo!

I have got four dogs, a tortoise, two rabbits and a parrot!

The dogs are two labradoodles, a springer - which was a rescue dog - and a cockapoo, for my girlfriend. They've all got great characters.

The tortoise is called Turk Turkerton II, after the character in Scrubs, and I got him with my flatmates when I lived down south.

The two rabbits live outside and I've just got a Macaw parrot called Oscar, who is brilliant.

He lies on his back so you can tickle his belly, he flies from his perch to your arm and wants attention all the time.

He also talks quite a bit and says things like 'hello' and 'shut up', and loves whistling!

 

I used to be a nightmare with superstitions.

Woody used to go on at me when I was at Charlton because I would strap up my wrists in a certain way and have loads of rituals that I had to do. But he told me that none of it matters and I've got out of most of them now.

The only ones I've got left are touching the posts and crossbar before a game, and always putting the left side on first when getting dressed.

When I was 11 I had a bad game having put my right boot on first, so I made the decision then that everything would always be left first!

But I'm nothing like Brad Friedel, who doesn't step on the white lines during games.

However, maybe that's the secret to playing every week for eight years!

 

I have only played once at St. James' Park so far for Newcastle, but it was the highlight of my career.

If you had said to me a year ago that I would be playing European football for Newcastle, I wouldn't have believed you.

It's an achievement and a massive step up for me to play for Newcastle, having come from the lower leagues.

I was gutted it was only 45 minutes (Elliot was withdrawn at half-time through injury), but to give a good account of myself over the last few weeks in the games I played away from home before that was amazing.

I was realising an ambition.

 

I have a couple of heroes.

In my personal life it has to be my mum. She's always stuck by me, even when I was a pain in the backside when I was younger.

She brought me up well and I've always looked up to her.

In footballing terms though it's Dean Kiely.

When I was a scholar at Charlton he was the first team keeper and he had a fantastic work ethic.

He prided himself on not making many mistakes and tried to be as consistent as possible. That's what I try to get into my game.

 

I go to Tynemouth quite a lot to walk the dogs and really like it out there.

There's a few lovely café's and I especially love it in the winter when the waves are going, you're wrapped up warm and walking down the beach.

That's how I spend a lot of my spare time, but like any footballer I also like my box sets and am watching 24 at the moment.

I'm not one of the video-gaming group here, yet. I started playing FIFA and quite enjoy it, but I daren't play any of the other lads yet - they would hammer me!

I just play by myself and have created my own player. I'm currently playing up front for Wycombe but I've been sent out on loan so am a bit gutted!