Krul summer: Newcastle keeper eyes Euros place
Published 22:30 14/12/11 By Simon Bird
Tim Krul traces the moment he knew he could make it as a top Premier League keeper to a busy night in Sicily five years ago.
Back then, a spindly 17-year-old Krul - a last-gasp call up to Newcastle’s UEFA Cup team because of injuries - kept Palermo at bay to clinch a 1-0 win for the Geordies.
Now, Krul is challenging to be considered the Prem’s top keeper, and hopes the “bond” he forged with the Toon Army that night in Italy will see him push on and become Holland’s No.1 - or at the very least book a spot in their squad for Euro 2012.
Thrusting the 23-year-old into the limelight ahead of established and experienced rival Steve Harper was one of manager Alan Pardew’s big gambles of the summer.
But it has been rewarded with a string of world class performances - especially the one Krul gave the 1-1 draw with Manchester United at Old Trafford, former home of his goalkeeping hero, Edwin van der Sar.
And it has turned a kid bought for just £200,000 into an asset worth £10million - just the sort of business Mike Ashley’s Newcastle have in mind when it comes to developing young talent.
Now, playing behind a defence decimated by injuries - although Fabricio Coloccini could be back against Swansea this weekend - Krul’s role is even more important in steadyinga side that has claimed just a point from four games.
Krul is adamant that age won’t be a barrier to his Holland ambitions - he has just two caps, including a debut against Brazil last summer, so far - or his mission to catch the eye in the top flight.
Other young keepers are emerging, such as Joe Hart and David De Gea, to challenge the excellence of Shay Given and Brad Friedel.
But it is little wonder that Krul has apparently caught the eye of Tottenham and Chelsea.
He said: “The manager has always insisted that if you’re good enough, then it doesn’t matter how old you are. I’ve always firmly believed in that myself, and I’m just glad I’ve got my chance.
“Maybe in the past, keepers have traditionally been a lot older, but there are some top young goalkeepers around now and that’s very important.
"I want to stay at this club for a long, long time and, hopefully, because I am still only 23, I can do that.
“I am loving life, and going to places like Old Trafford is special.
"Every game is bringing new challenges for me and it’s up to me to keep rising to those challenges. I’m very pleased with my game at the moment and with the way things are going. To be honest, I couldn’t have wished for better.
"We are answering a lot of questions as a team this season and everyone is playing their part.”
Krul's shot-stopping against Manchester United earned plaudits, and he recalled: “Old Trafford is one of the nicest stadiums in the country and the atmosphere was good.
"What a game to be involved in. Games like that are why you get involved in football in the first place and it was a great feeling.
“Now we have Swansea and West Brom to come this month and they are games we have to win.
"December and January are always very important months during a season - it is after that [when] you can really see where you are in the league and start to see what can be achieved.
"So we want to get that period off to a good start, push on and hopefully stay near the top of the league for as long as possible.”
Krul quit the Den Haag club in his homeland to pursue his Premier League ambitions and said: “One of the reasons I came to Newcastle was to achieve my dream of playing for my country one day.
"That has always been an ambition of mine and to play for Holland’s senior team last summer was something very special.
“My debut was away to Brazil. There can’t be many better places to make your national team debut. I managed to keep a clean sheet and that experience has to be the best of my career so far.
“It’s one of those things that you dream about all of your life, and for that dream to come true was great for me. But I know I have to be patient because I have good competition around me.
“Euro 2012? Maarten Stekelenburg and Michel Vorm are quality keepers that are ahead of me in the queue [for the Holland jersey] and they’ve been around for a while as well. Maarten got all the way to the World Cup final last year, so it’s not going to be easy to break into the side and stay there.
“But that has to be my aim in the long run. To be in the squad for Euro 2012 would be the icing on the cake after what will hopefully be a successful season with Newcastle.
“I can’t rest on my laurels and I can’t allow myself to relax, because I know Steve Harper and Rob Elliot are there to push me. I can’t rest easy because I need to be on top of my game week in, week out.
"The Premier League is not a forgiving place so it is up to me to show people what I am capable of in very game.
“The fans have looked after me since the moment I arrived here.
"After my debut in Palermo in the UEFA Cup back in 2006, there’s always been a special bond.”