Bramble. Boumsong. Beye. Big players and bigger fees. Yet despite these acquisitions defensive solidity remained a rare feature of Newcastle’s game. Goals were conceded, discontent grew and a reputation was earned. Years of suspect management resulted in a dire and heart-wrenching plunge into England’s second tier.
But now, 2 years later, we are faced with a different reality. 15 points from 7 games shows a resilience that has been missing in recent years. The emergence of Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor as a reliable center-half combination and the combative presence of Cheik Tiote in midfield have had a real impact on Newcastle’s fortunes. Yet behind every great back line is a great goalkeeper and that is something Newcastle definitely have in Tim Krul.
Without Krul between the sticks on Saturday Newcastle would definitely have needed more than 2 goals to beat an unlucky Wolves side. Krul performed a string of world class saves to deny O’Hara, Doyle and Fletcher and it was not until the 87th minute that he was finally beaten after a period of sustained pressure from Wolves.
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Given his fine form one wonders whether there will be any way back for veteran goalkeeper Steve Harper. One of the greatest servants to Newcastle United in recent years, Harper again finds himself battling for a place in the team with Krul currently in the box seat. But Krul is taking nothing for granted. “I’m in possession of the jersey at the moment,” he said, “It’s a long season and I don’t feel as though I’m number one yet. I’m very focused and I’m taking it a game at a time.”
His performances for Newcastle have not gone unnoticed at the international level and Krul was called up for Holland’s upcoming Euro qualifiers against Moldova and Sweden. Going to the European Championships is a major goal for Krul and he can only achieve that by staying in the first team at Newcastle and maintaining his form. This is obviously on Krul’s mind and should be a real incentive for him to maintain his performance levels. Not that he needs another one with the likes of Harper and Elliot snapping at his heels.
Though not the finished article Krul is definitely showing a growing maturity and Newcastle fans can breathe easy knowing that they have an ambitious and capable goalkeeper who loves the club and is only going to get better and better.
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