With three keepers vying for the number one spot at NUFCthis season, the pre-season games in America may give an indication into who will start in goal for us against Arsenal.
If Fraser Forster, Tim Krul and Steve Harper all have particularly good games then Alan Pardew may have a goalkeeping dilemma on his hands, both in terms of who to select and evidently who to sell. Pardew has maintained all along that he could have a problem with his goalkeepers and none of them are going to want to drop to third choice which means that one will more than likely be leaving St James’ Park before the transfer window slams shut on August 31st.
Steve Harper has been a long-term servant of the club and had to endure twelve seasons as backup to Shay Given. Once Given had left for Man City Harper began to become the regular goalie for us. Now Harper does have his good and bad days in games and that’s where I feel that he may not be the regular goalie for us. There are times when he should be diving for the ball but just doesn’t go for it at all. That cost us last season on occasion.
I have noticed a lot that there are times in a game where Harper can be very flat footed and slow to react when there has been a shot on goal. There are times when I don’t feel safe with Harps in goal and he never seems to be able to make his mind up what to do. Perhaps it is time for him to be overtaken in the pecking order by a younger keeper which would perhaps leave him on the bench again.
Harper was injured quite a bit last season and that allowed Tim Krul to have a large chunk of time to play in goal. Certainly Krul took his chance and made a name for himself in the team. Perhaps this may be Harper’s undoing, he isn’t getting any younger and perhaps it’s time to step aside and let a young’un have an opportunity?
Although if Harper does stay with the club, his leadership would be key in the dressing room to guide the younger goalie and offer advice to him. The experiences he has had may be vital in filling the void that may have been left by Nolan so to keep him around would be a good way to keep the team spirit up.
For me though I don’t think Harper will be keeping his place as the number one goalie anytime soon.
Tim Krul made his way to play in goal after the injury that Steve Harper suffered at Everton. The Dutch international put in many good performances and during the times that he played he demonstrated that he is capable of playing in the Premier League.
The away game at Blackpool perhaps demonstrated Krul’s ability the most. He had to come rushing out of his goal in order to stop Blackpool from scoring. That move could have easily gone wrong, but Krul managed to get his hand to the ball and divert it away for a corner. If he had made that move a second too late he perhaps may have given away a penalty.
I believe that Krul is more commanding when there are set pieces and does make an effort to try and stop them. He is a very talented goalkeeper and he has demonstrated that a lot to Alan Pardew over the course of last season.
With the young Dutchman making his way into the number one spot left by Edwin Van der Sar in the Dutch team that clearly states to me that he has a very good chance of becoming the number one goalie for Newcastle. The fact that he is playing international football may put him at the forefront of becoming our new first choice goalie.
Fraser Forster has been the third-choice goalie for the past three seasons at Newcastle. He has been the one out of Tim Krul and himself that has been sent out on loan. Krul has been out on loan before of course, but after Shay Given left Krul was promoted to the first team squad full time.
The Hexham born goalie made a name for himself at Norwich City during the 2009-10 season. His displays during that season helped Norwich to the League One title and many of the Norwich faithful were delighted with his displays. Further evidence of his quality was shown we he was named Player of the Year 2010 by the club and his fantastic season was further capped by the fact that he was awarded the Macron Golden Gloves award for the best record for clean sheets in the league – Forster managed to keep eighteen clean sheets in thirty-eight appearances.
Last season Forster was on a season long loan deal at Celtic. The young Hexham lad played in every match of Celtic’s season with the exception of two cup matches and kept a total of 21 clean sheets during that season. A poor league the Scottish Premier League may be, but it’s still a further indication that the young lad has ability.
These three goalies are all trying to compete for the starting spot and one of them may become disappointed with what happens during pre-season. Competition is fierce and it remains the one position where we are well stocked for the now and for the future which is why I youngsters like Ole Soderberg are looking to go out on loan. Realistically his chances are going to be limited and he is only ever going to be third choice at best next season. It’s tough for a goalkeeper at Newcastle United!
However I believe that Tim Krul will be our number one goalie at the start of the season and possibly Forster may be on the bench. This may not be the case but out of the three I think Krul will be given the nod by Pardew as he has demonstrated to him that he is a goalie who can play at a world-class level.
What do you think? Who will be our first-choice goalie?