TIM Krul has been backed to get even better on the pitch at Newcastle United – and become a leader off it, writes Miles Starforth.
The goalkeeper has been oustanding between the posts this season.
Krul, right, now the club’s number one in goal, has helped Alan Pardew’s defence become the meanest in the division, Newcastle having conceded just seven Premier League goals so far this term.
United’s success this season has been built on that resilience and Pardew’s side went into this afternoon’s home game against Everton lying third in the league.
Pardew is confident Krul will continue to improve as a goalkeeper the more he plays.
And he also expects the 23-year-old – who made his debut five years ago this week away to Palermo in the Uefa Cup – to become an influential figure in his dressing room.
Long-serving goalkeeper Steve Harper, on a month’s loan at Brighton and Hove Albion, has long been a leader on and off the pitch and Pardew sees similar qualities in Krul.
“I think he knows where he’s at – he’s not the finished article yet,” Pardew said. “He’s not got the experience, but he’s got everything else.
“He kicks well, throws well, talks well, he’s confident on crosses and he’s a great shot stopper.
“He’s got all the tools and now it’s about experience and growing as a person and becoming the sort of leader that Harps is and being able to lift and inspire people in the dressing room.
“That’s what’s next for him.”
Krul pulled off a series of stunning saves on his debut against Palermo in the intimidating Stadio Renzo Barbera in November, 2006.
Ironically, West Ham United, then managed by Pardew, had been knocked out of the competition at the stadium just a month earlier.