Krul could be in demand as redemption story continues with Canaries
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
The pressure was on for Tim Krul at the start of this season, in spite of his mostly excellent debut campaign with Norwich City.
That was thanks to the loan signing of Schalke goalkeeper Ralf Fahrmann, a man who had almost 200 Bundesliga games on his CV and who had been playing Champions League football the previous season.
Krul was on his road to redemption though and that competition only drove him on to continue his steady improvement since joining on a free transfer during the pre-season of 2018-19.
That top-level comeback has kicked up a notch, despite the thorough overall disappointment for the Canaries in the Premier League this season, after being relegated with three games still to play - and with last place already confirmed ahead of Sunday’s final game at Manchester City.
The Dutchman’s personal form has been acknowledged by City supporters though by voting him Player of the Season, following Teemu Pukki in lifting the Barry Butler Memorial Trophy after joining the club on a free transfer.
It’s not unusual for a goalkeeper of a struggling club to get plenty of praise, after all, they tend to be one of the busiest players in the team when times are tough. England number one Jordan Pickford is a fine example of that from his time with Sunderland, earning his £25million move to Everton in 2017.
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When you add in the defensive injury hell that has exacerbated the mixture of youth and inexperience in front of the 32-year-old however, and consider how few outright mistakes he’s made during a difficult season, it’s clear to see that Krul has been an important player for Daniel Farke.
During games behind closed doors the vocal organising and passionate leadership the former Newcastle number one offers has been even more obvious than normal, constantly demanding more from his outfield colleagues, encouraging defenders for their good work and barking orders.
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That’s not to say he’s been perfect, of course. He’s conceded 63 goals. Chris Wood’s overhead kick for Burnley on Saturday will do down as one of plenty that Krul will feel he could have done better with. Yet it would be very difficult to level much blame for City’s relegation at their goalkeeper. He’s brought far more positives than negatives during a bitterly disappointing campaign.
Think back to how much talk there used to be about his kicking ability when he first joined. Bar being caught out for an unwise attempt to dummy a kick at Arsenal recently, his use of the ball has rarely been seen as a problem.
In March 2019 sporting director Stuart Webber jokingly told a fans’ forum that he “could have punched about 1,500 people in the face” for moans and groans about a wayward kick during a recent game at Carrow Road, pointing out that some supporters were overlooking all the successful kicks and giving undue attention to attempts to play out from the back.
An impassioned defence of Krul saw Webber also say that while Pukki and Emi Buendia had been brilliant successes that “our best signing was Tim Krul” as replacing Angus Gunn was not easy and he had quickly established himself as a leader in the dressing room.
None of that was easy, as he continued making his way back from the serious knee injury suffered while on international duty in October 2015. Loan stints at Ajax and AZ Alkmaar back home in Holland weren’t enough to remain at Newcastle and just five cup appearances as number two at Brighton saw Krul take a step down - to try and get back to his best.
His international manager Ronald Koeman was convinced enough to hand the former Den Haag trainee a return to his squad in March. That could well be on Krul’s mind if offers come his way, with a Euro 2021 place to play for. However, any prospective suitors are likely to need a number one shirt that needs filling and a high standard of football to interest a man who will know he owes Norwich a great deal in helping him to get his career back on track.
At 32 years old he still has plenty of decent years in the tank as a goalkeeper but he’ll know time away from top-flight football will be risky for his international prospects.
Yet he’ll also have the temptation of more great memories potentially being made, of a settled life in Norfolk and the feeling of being truly valued.
PL most saves per game this season (at least 20 apps)
- Leno (Arsenal) - 3.7
- Dubravka (Newcastle) - 3.7
- KRUL (NORWICH) - 3.6
- Ramsdale (B’mouth) - 3.4
- Guaita (C Palace) - 3.2