One of the few negative things about Newcastle’s 1-0 win at Everton on Saturday, was the rather serious shoulder injury to Newcastle goalkeeper Steve Harper.
Tim Krul – in action at Goodison last Saturday
But with most negatives there is a balancing positive, and 22 year-old Tim Krul, the goalkeeper of the future at Newcastle, along with Fraser Forster, is ready to take his chance, and certainly he has never let the club down with his solid performances, and that included his display at Goodison Park.
The Dutch U21 International was Man of the Match on his debut at Palermo in the UEFA Cup in November of 2006, and Newcastle manager Hughton is convinced he can get the job done for Newcastle and has no qualms at all with his reserve goalkeeper.
Chris Hughton talked about Tim today:
“Tim is ready for first-team football, absolutely. This is a young goalkeeper we’re talking about, but I don’t know if, in the current climate, 22 is that young any more.” “Probably 18 or 19 would be categorised as that if you look at the quality of players playing in this division.”
“But he’s got very good ability and I’m very positive that he won’t be fazed by any of this.” “Sometimes you go into situations like this with less fear. I’ve seen numerous situations in the past where younger players have gone in and acquitted themselves very well and managed to stay in the team for a considerable period of time.”
“The reassuring thing with Tim is that he’s a keeper of very good quality. At some stage he and Fraser (Forster) were always going to be pushing Harps and very much knocking on that door.” “It just so happens that he’s got an opportunity maybe sooner than he would have expected.”
“We always hoped this moment would come – that’s the reason why we’ve maintained the two young keepers that we have. They’re there for competition with Harper. Steve was the best keeper in the Championship last season and in some ways having those two around has brought the best out of him.”
It’s disappointing for Harps because it’s only in these last 21 months or so that he has taken over from Shay Given who was number one at the club for 12 seasons and played close to 470 games for Newcastle. It’s ironic that Shay is now on the bench at the Eastlands club, with Joe Hart recently claiming the number one position under Roberto Mancini.
But Steve faces some severe competition from both Tim Krul, and 6’7″ Fraser Forster too, who is good enough to be on loan at Celtic as their number one goalkeeper this season, and progressing along very nicely too.
One of these two will be the future goalkeeper at Newcastle, and it looks like the club wants to keep both young keepers at the club long term.
“It’s devastating for Harps. I feel for him because he’s a player who’s not used to being injured. After an excellent season last season, he’d started this one as first choice and that’s how it would have been. I feel for him.”
“It’ll be assessed in the next couple of days. It’s ligament damage and it’s just the extent of what the damage is. It’ll be a bit unfair to put time on it, but even in the best case scenario he’s still be out for a period of time.”
Of course we still don’t know just how bad the injury is to Harper, but if it’s severe it could be a period of months before he can return, but we have to hope that it will be weeks rather than months.
But either way Tim Krul will get his chance at the club, and he aims to take it with both hands.