RAFAEL BENITEZ wants to give summer signing Matz Sels his full backing after the Newcastle United goalkeeper became the victim of trolling on social media.

Criticism of the £5m buy from Gent was hurled in his direction after Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Aston Villa when Aaron Tshibola, the former Hartlepool loan man, struck a late equaliser.

Sels perhaps could have done a little better on the goal, although it was hardly a glaring error, and he is taking time to adapt and find top form in English football.

The negative comments he received after the draw at Villa Park has led to him deleting his Twitter account, just three months after becoming a Newcastle player. Many supporters have leapt to his defence and slammed the derogatory comments, some of them personal.

Benitez also has the option of playing Karl Darlow there, while Rob Elliot is working on his fitness as he looks to recover from a knee injury which ruled him out of Euro 2016.

Sels is the current holder of the first team shirt, however, and he has played in all nine of Newcastle’s opening Championship fixtures.

But Benitez is understood not to blame Sels for the late goal at Aston Villa and instead thinks a failure to convert clear cut chances was the real reason for a failure to win.

Newcastle face leaders Norwich on Wednesday night before travelling to Rotherham on Saturday and he is expected to keep the Belgium between the posts. The 24-year-old is looking to keep clean sheets in the hope of closing the four-point gap to the Canaries perched at the top of the table.

Benitez will be keeping a close on Sels to make sure that the fans’ criticism does not take its toll on him so early into his Newcastle career.

The Belgium international is actually one of the few players to have figured in every game this season, with Benitez regularly changing things in a bid to keep Newcastle fresh for the Championship.

He has used 27 players already and will continue to mix things up in a bid to keep Newcastle pushing for an automatic promotion place.

Ciaran Clark, a summer recruit from Aston Villa, has no problem with being in and out of the side because he knows that is the manager’s way of working during a hectic schedule.

Clark said: "I’m happy with the last few games I’ve played. We all know the way it goes here. We’ve got a big squad and top-quality players.

“We’ve all bought into the way we’ve been rotated and kept fresh for certain games. We’re all happy with that and know how it goes.”

Benitez is sure to make more changes when Norwich travel to St James’ Park. The Spaniard is keen to close the gap on the leaders and is frustrated after following up a 6-0 win over QPR by losing to Wolves and drawing at Villa.

One player not involved at Newcastle this season is young defender Kevin Mbabu, but he hopes to be next season. Mbabu is on a season-long loan at Swiss club Young Boys and hopes to impress and develop sufficiently to become an important player for Newcastle in the future.

He said: “By now I know exactly what it takes. It is important to complete a season without injury. That was hopefully just the beginning. I hope to still often play in this (English) league.”