‘He had so many magnificent games’ - City’s proud keepers’ union will keep Krul on his toes
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City will hope that goalkeeper Tim Krul is not as busy as last season but the Canaries will do everything they can to help keep the Dutchman in top form.
City’s keeper coach Ed Wootten was proud to see Krul reclaim a place in the Holland squad and named Player of the Season by Norwich fans, but so far fresh competition has not arrived for the 32-year-old.
Krul kept Schalke loanee Ralf Fahrmann out of Daniel Farke’s team last season to remain the Canaries’ undisputed number one - and has remained with the club following relegation from the Premier League.
“Normally when a goalkeeper is playing well it’s a collective effort from everybody,” reflected Wootten, as he spoke to us about his role at City. “From the goalkeepers within the group who push him day to day, which means you’ve got a good goalkeeper sat on the bench, a good goalkeeper back at Colney and under-23s working as part of the collective and pushing to get the best out of one another.
“Then behind that, it sounds clichéd in terms of having that support structure, like Chris Domogalla’s team in terms of sports scientists, we work closely with Glyn Lewis and he will do the goalkeeping physical programme.
“Then we have the analysis guys preparing match footage and giving me information, so it’s a real big collective on that.
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“It was great for Tim to have such a fantastic season, he did really well. Obviously as players and staff, we’re the first to admit that it’s a sort of bittersweet feeling because you know that when your goalkeeper is basically your outstanding player of the season, that means it’s been a difficult time.
“So there’s always that element but all credit goes to him for that, because he had so many magnificent games and was outstanding for all of his 38 match days.”
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Michael McGovern came in for most of the only two top flight games that Krul missed, with injury denying Fahrmann just 22 minutes into his league debut at Crystal Palace.
The 36-year-old and under-23 keepers Daniel Barden - who covered ably during the recent League Cup loss at Luton when Krul and McGovern were on international duty - and Jon McCracken will provide the competition, with Archie Mair on loan at King’s Lynn and Aston Oxborough injured.
Wootten continued: “Tim was excellent and it’s great to have that collective group. We’ve moved that forward this year with Michael McGovern behind him pushing him day-to-day, who is still in the Northern Ireland set-up and that just goes to show how hard he works to stay on top of his form, to be continually called up by his country.
“Archie Mair’s with the Scotland (U21s) group as well, so it’s a real healthy environment we have at the moment, we’re very fortunate.”
City’s young goalkeeper Aston Oxborough however has had to start out on the long road to recovery, although Wootten says he’s in good spirits.
The 22-year-old helped Wealdstone win the National League South title last season and was set for another loan spell, with League Two side Salford City, but ended up having surgery on an Achilles tendon injury instead.
“He’s dealt with it really well,” Wootten explained. “I think initially there is a little bit of shock in terms of that type of injury, because when he had it, he was only playing a week before, so you have that shock of it not feeling quite as real as it does now.
“It’s this period when he’s doing his rehab that will be very difficult and it’s going to be really important that we keep his morale high.
“He was really close to a loan move up at Salford City, which is where he did it, and they really liked what he was doing and he would have had a really good season there, I was really confident of that.
“He’s done the hard yards, he went out on loan to Wealdstone last year, earned promotion with them and it’s a really cruel blow for him, because he was in a place where his career could have really taken an upward turn this season.
“He’s got to be patient, hopefully we can see him back in the early part of 2021 and at least back pushing potentially to get some game time, whether that be with our under-23s or on loan again. Hopefully he can get some game-time before the season is finished and get his career back on track.”
Barden’s recent debut came after his own loan spell, playing regularly at step four of non-league with Bury Town last season.
“He had a relatively quiet game, the first half particularly he didn’t have too much to do but what he did, he did well,” Wootten said, reflecting on the 19-year-old’s debut during that unusual 3-1 loss.
“He took a couple of crosses, distributed the ball comfortably and second half was just a little unfortunate that we concede a penalty and two scrappy goals really, if truth be told.
“But he’s been with us since after the lockdown period, we’ve had him around our group. He went away to Bury Town last year and got a lot of game-time under his belt and they were pleased with what he did.
“Then an opportunity has arisen, obviously in strange circumstances where we’ve got goalkeepers away on international duty and we weren’t worried about putting him in.
“He played a pre-season friendly at the end of the German tour that again he did well and came through, so I think everyone was confident that he could come in and do a good job.
“So it’s an exciting player to have around and again, going back to talking about our goalkeeper environment, he’s someone who is great to have around and he really keeps our group healthy because he’s now played a professional game and he’s keen to push on and do well.
“We played him in the under-23s game again on Monday (a 3-0 win over Reading at Colney) and he came through and did well again, so he’s an exciting prospect – and we’ve got Jon McCracken under that pushing him.
“So we’ve always got that competition in that goalkeeping environment to push each other and get the best performances out of one another.
“It’s great for him (Barden) and who knows, he can take his career on in whichever direction he wants to. He’s got to keep working hard and I’m sure he will because he’s that type of lad, he’s got that hunger now he’s had a bit of a taste and he loved it.
“It’s an exciting time in terms of the younger goalkeepers, they just have to prove that they’re capable of doing it on a consistent basis and then we’ll see who is hopefully able to take the shirt in the future – which is obviously the target, we want one of our own to be in goal as the regular number one for Norwich.”