Newcastle goalkeeper Matz Sels has opened up on his decision to leave the club on loan in the summer.

The Belgian shot stopper returned to his homeland on a temporary basis following an underwhelming first season at Newcastle, signing for Anderlecht on a season-long loan.

As reported by Belgian news outlet Humo, the 25-year-old moved on from Newcastle in the hope of finding regular first-team football elsewhere. With the 2018 World Cup rapidly approaching, Sels was keen to put himself in the picture ahead of this summer’s competition.

I played fifteen matches at Newcastle. That’s not much. I could have stayed and competed, but I estimated my playing opportunities at Anderlecht were higher. For the time being I am not worried, there will be enough matches. But it is true that I wanted to keep my World Cup opportunities cool by coming here.

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Sels joined Newcastle with an impressive pedigree and reputation in Belgium and was coveted as one of the Pro League’s most impressive goalkeepers.

However, he has not been a success at St James’ Park and was evidently deemed surplus to requirements in the summer, with both Rob Elliot and Karl Darlow preferred.

Sels is unlikely to start at the World Cup unless Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois sustains an injury. However, he’s hopeful of being included in Roberto Martinez’s squad, and feels regular game time will help him towards that.

That was what Roberto Martínez had told me: that I definitely had to play, and that he did not see that happening at Newcastle.

Now, even if I play at Anderlecht, it does not give me the certainty that I will be there. But by staying with Newcastle and sitting on the bench again, I certainly did not stand a chance.

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