Eddie Howe reveals the first player he wants Newcastle United to sign up in January

Loris Karius impressed on his Newcastle United debut against Saudi Pro League champions Al-Hilal.

Eddie Howe has said he wants to keep Loris Karius at Newcastle United following his impressive display against Al-Hilal.

Karius marked his first senior appearance since February 2021 with five first-half saves and a clean sheet at the Prince Abdullah Al Faisal Stadium.

The German played the opening 45 minutes before being replaced by Mark Gillespie at half-time. United won 5-0 courtesy of braces from Joelinton and Miguel Almiron, plus a goal for young striker Dylan Stephenson.

“I think he did really well, Howe said on Karius. “We came under pressure in the first half and I thought he made some good saves.

“Since he’s been with us, he’s steadily improved. His distribution was very good so a good night for him.

“We’ll wait and see. I’d like him to stay but obviously, the two parties have got to agree, so fingers crossed.”

The 29-year-old signed a short-term deal with Newcastle in September, which is due to expire next month.

Although he hadn’t played before the trip to Saudi Arabia, Karius has made a big impact behind the scenes, so Howe sees a lot of value in keeping him.

“I think he’s been a very calming influence, Howe explained. “He’s a goalkeeper with a lot of experience. He’s trained well and is a very good character and very popular in the changing room - the lads have really taken to him. He’s a positive influence and that’s why I’d like him to stay.

“He hadn’t trained a lot when he entered the club. We were in a difficult situation after the injury to Karl (Darlow) and as I say, he was a calming influence. He brought stability behind the scenes.

“Steadily, with the amount of goalkeeping he’s done now, he’s improving all the time.”

The former Liverpool goalkeeper is in line to play against Rayo Vallecano at St James’ Park next Saturday, where he will hope to cement a starting place for the Carabao Cup last 16 clash against Bournemouth four days later.