Who has been our most improved player so far this season?

Tim Krul showing immense improvement
I started off writing this article about Tim Krul, but after a few moments of deliberation I thought it would be unfair to just focus on one player.

Essentially I was wondering just how far Tim Krul can go in his career after what has been an exceptional start to the season for the young Dutch stopper. I thought about the visible improvement from the 23-year-old, but then I thought that he wasn’t the only who has visibly improved.

So who else has improved markedly? Is Krul the most improved player after all or is there someone else that has caught your eye that can perhaps surpass how Krul has improved in this very short space of time? Let’s take a look…

First off I guess I have to start with the initial inspiration for the article – Tim Krul. Now a full Dutch international, the improvement Krul has shown from last season to this, or even from the start of this season to now, has been a marked one.

From commanding his area to dealing with crosses to shot stopping, pretty much every aspect of Krul’s game has improved and he is now, quite rightly, our first choice goalkeeper, by some margin in my opinion.

Steven Taylor is another one who, I think anyway, has improved an awful lot. Now with Taylor I’m not just looking at last season as he was plagued by injury, and I’m not even sure if he has actually improved or whether it’s the fact that he is fulfilling his potential at last, but he has been immense at the back and has been an integral part of our fantastic start to the season.

Another first team player who I think has improved this season is Danny Simpson. He still has moments where he backs off his attacker but he seems to be getting better and can read the game a bit more. He is showing me that he isn’t always the liability I thought he was!

Finally, I’d say Sammy Ameobi has to be included in this. He’s gone from a promising youth player to being involved in the first team and has even picked up some starts along the way. He’s done well when called upon, but for me the sign of his progression is his increased involvement in the first team and the faith that Alan Pardew appears to have put in the lad.

Personally I think that is it. Remember, we’re talking about players who have improved at Newcastle so realistically any new signing can be ruled out as, well, we just don’t know what they were really like before they joined us and we started watching them week in and week out. I’ve also left out the likes of Fabricio Coloccini as he was excellent last season and is just continuing his high level of performance.

So who would you go with? Does Tim Krul do it for you? Do any of them do it for you? Perhaps you have your own idea as to who you think has improved the most? Let us know.

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About toonsy

A lifelong Newcastle fan and current webmaster of this very 'blog who has the sole aim of creating a place by Newcastle United fans, for Newcastle United fans.

46 thoughts on “Who has been our most improved player so far this season?

  1. I agree with your assessment of these four players. Though only having played a handfull of games in Tiote’s absence, I think Danny Guthrie deserves a mention aswell. He has looked a very capable deputy for either of our first choice players, being Tiote and Cabaye, and from thinking that he might never really reach the level required of a Premier League player, I now find it a priority that the club give him a new contract as soon as possible. To have him and Gosling and the other CM youngsters in the squad, bodes very well for the future of our club.

    I also think you would have to mention our forgotten man, Ryan Taylor. Many, myself included, were very worried about him playing at LB at the start of the season, but he has done remarkably well, even if Jonas is the main reason for that.

    And eventhough Coloccini was a very good CB for us last season, he now appears to be among the best in the entire league. That is a vast improvement aswell.


  2. defo sammy ameobi for me. He was not even in the first team for virtually the whole of last season. Now, he has turned into an impact player, although I must admit that he does impresses me on the pitch from the start in the ManCity game. Fearless.


  3. The most improved player for me has to be Tim Krul and basing that on his age and short stint as number 1.
    It’s scary to think that he can add to his game when he already looks a class act.

    I agree about Steven Taylor being much improved and I think partnering Colo has benefit him no end. England international in the making.

    Danny Simpson is definitely improving as the season goes on and all he needs is to add an end product to his forward forages and he will turn out to be far better than we all imagined.

    Ryan Taylor gets a mention from me simply for the fact he’s took on the versatile tag but also done it whilst not being a regular in his usual familiar role of right back.

    Danny Guthrie, has come on leaps and bounds and I think it stems from playing amongst quality players all around him which has made him step up to the mark…I’d say he has come of age.

    Leon Best I think , has shown that he’s capable of producing the goods with the right service and certainly doesn’t look out of place with his attitude and work ethics, definitely much improved as time has went on.

    Even Coloccini has improved and looks batter and batter with time.

    The rest are either natural quality or are at the same level as what we have been used to.

    Just my opinion of course. 😀


  4. Wolfie – I agree Krul is very good but his kicking is well suspect. Unless something is done to remedy it I fear we’ll be made to pay for it sooner rather than later.


  5. Has to be Krul for me, I’ve always said I think he would be the one out of him and Forster to replace Harper as number one. Remember when he made a blunder against Chelsea last season and quite a few people got on his back saying he isnt good enough.

    We need to get him on a 5 year deal ASAP in my opinion because it wont be long before some of the top clubs start taking notice.


  6. Toon Chicken , I agree his kicking has been suspect but at least he’s managed to launch it, albeit out of play lol.
    I’d be more worried if he had a tendency to constantly skim it along the floor, which he rarely does , even though he got let off the hook at Man Utd .

    I think with more games though and the team doing well, his confidence will take another step up and in doing so…so will his overall kicking.


  7. What actually makes an “improved” player? One thing is the maturity of realizing the physical skills that have been given and developed. A bigger part of the equation is what the coaches do to harness the skills and then deploy them on the pitch. Throw in the ability of the player to both hear and execute what is being requested and then you make a judgment. The fact is, we have no idea about any of the three characteristics described. We can guess about players coming into their own physically, we can surmise about how the coaching is going as well as if a player “hears” as the game goes on. From the above, I’d be reluctant to guess who is most improved.


  8. I love having all this developing talent at the club but the sceptic in me tells me that if anyone comes knocking for the likes of Krul we will sell! The current administration will do business everytime! Im hoping for a very slow January! The downside to the great start we’ve had is that every players profile has been lifted and with that comes interest from other clubs! Sorry to be a pessimist but I love the way the club are playing at the moment but can’t help feeling that it will all be upset if the right money comes in!


  9. Krul has improved beyond doubt. His kicking has also improved dramitically too, last year he couldn’t even connect very well but he’s now giving it a good thrashing. Accuracy will come, he’s only young.


  10. BEEGUY, Just looking at the performances over a period of time compared to the performances over a similar period last year ,makes certain players stand out in the improvement and consistency stakes.
    Naturally it’s been worked on by the coaches and management but I also think it comes down to having a belief in your team mates and wanting to perform up to a standard that they are at.
    On that note, I think we can see who has benefit from it all by regular consistent performances at a higher standard than we were used to.



    If you give your best friend a £1000 to put in the bank for you, do you worry yourself to death that he might run off with it or do you say, ahhh it’ll be ok and I’ll worry about it if the time comes that he has indeed ran off with it..

    Basically, stop worrying about what might or might not happen with our players..

    Tim krul would only leave if an amazing unbelievably stupendous way over the top for a keeper, offer comes in that even God himself would find hard to turn down.

    He is number 1 here and he knows that leaving for a bigger club does not guarantee him that, plus he has the added pressure of being an extremely expensive keeper who the fans will not let off lightly should he make errors.

    He cost us virtually nothing and carries no burden except for the burden he asked for…..The number 1 jersey.

    H e will be idolized here by producing the goods and virtually nowhere on Earth would be be afforded that.

    The more this team builds and the more the better players in the team believe this club can do something, then the likely hood is they will nail their colours to the mast..but equally we cannot and will not refuse Andy Carroll type money for players worth a quarter of that..

    That’s not just Newcastle United mate…that’s football teams in general…

    Positive thoughts mate…go on you can do it. 😀


  12. Obertan has to get a mention… his crosses have gone from **** to ok :mrgreen:

    a small improvement but an improvement none the less!!


  13. Wolfie, you are quite the statesman – well said!

    I don’t know if Sammy is the ‘most improved’ but he’s the most satisfying contender to watch because he’s come out of nowhere, cost nothing and suddenly he’s making the best defenders in the world look pretty ****e at times.

    Others mentioned – like Guthrie and Raylor – have been cases of showing what they’ve always had rather than improvement. And that’s down to the manager.

    So yep, I think if you look at what AP has done this year so far and compare it to his previous efforts here and elsewhere… he’s got to be the pick of the bunch. :mrgreen:

    (With extra points for keeping his cool when the owner does things to the detriment of the club but the benefit of M.Ashley PLC.) 👿


  14. Ryan Taylor, hands down

    Prior to this season, I thought he was useless (and I don’t think I was in the minority). Completely out of his depth in the Prem. He’s made a huge improvement just to not be a complete liability for us. In fact, he’s proven to be a decent two-way LB (most of the time)


  15. have to agree with toonsy,krul for me, hes still young for a keeper,and if he keeps on improving.We will have a world class keeper on our hands.


  16. why do people say that krul being most improved..his shot stopping is just as good like last year.his kicking is still poor.too many times it goes out of the field.and i remember against man u his low shot clearing nearly found mu forward


  17. The improvement of the players mentioned is down to a variety of reasons as stated by the lads on this thread.

    Definitely the manager/coaches and the professional way this club is run from brass tacks upwards all play a major part in a players mindset in wanting to be a part of a close knit group and try his best to excel and better himself knowing that he is not up against ego’s but other like minded players equally wanting to prove their worth.

    In this day and age of players getting too much money too soon and allowing it to dictate their lives, normally sends up and coming quality into self destruct mode….Ballotelli being a prime example of absolute quality that can rock the boat and lives a life of a spoon fed baby who believes he is some kind of God due to the hype fed to him,which generally leads to the classic case of future headlines stating…..Ballotelli’s career, down the toilet…
    His desire to improve probably doesn’t exist because he believes he’s the finished article and money and flash living is his God.

    Nile Ranger is a classic example of certain young players that believe in their own hype, yet want to lead the life of a scally-wag whilst believing everything else will fit into place around them…Not so at N.U.F.C boy…

    This club now recognize those who can improve, those who want to improve and those who think they have already made it…
    The latter get sold or loaned..

    This attitude is a breath of fresh air and is testament to how this club is run when we can have the staff and management only play a player based on merits shown to them and a desire to improve upon the quality they already possess.

    If you command the respect (FULLY) of your players and have them believe in your management style and tactics, you create a squad of players that will bust a gut to attain the levels you set them.

    I think we are close to that and that’s why the improvement of squad players that we thought were surplus to requirements are now showing what they are all about.

    When you have a player who’s told he’s dropped or isn’t playing and his attitude is “oh well , never mind”, then you don;t have a focused player wanting to improve.

    When you have a player that is banging on the door asking for a chance to prove himself, then you have a player that clearly wants to up his game and show he’s got that ability.

    Follow my leader seems to be the order of the day at Newcastle and it’s paying off with improvements all over the pitch ,week after week and long may it continue. 😀


  18. as well as players showing vast improvement,isnt it refreshing to see our players, on the back pages of newspapers.Apart from ranger who we shipped out anyway.Long may this continue.


  19. @21 – Newcastle United FC Jonas Gutierrez 26/11/2011 03/12/2011 Suspended from all first team football until the Club have completed 1 first team match for a Sending Off in a match played on 26/11/2011.


  20. Personally, I would go with Guthrie. I think in Tiote’s absence, he’s been outstanding and seems to be playing some great football. It almost makes me less worried about the “Tiote to Chelsea” rumors, knowing that Guthrie will naturally slot in.
    But, of the 4 on the list, I went with Simpson. I can’t think of any real mistakes he’s made, and can think of quite a few excellent performances…including the winner of the “Johnny on the Spot” award against ManU this weekend. He’s quick, fearless and pretty damn consistent this season so far.


  21. Sammi Ameobi for me. Krul, Taylor and Raylor all have top level experience prior to this season. The hardest thing to do for a young reserve player is make the step up amongst a host of experienced footballers, hold your own and then some. Sammi has done exceptionally well in that respect.

    Simmo, Saylor and Raylor are all expected to be consistent, reliable players at this level. Tim Krul is a close runner up, but Sammi wins this by a country mile in my opinion! 🙂


  22. Richietoon, that’s exactly my thought.

    When I read the question and started considering it, yes certain players like Krul and Taylor deserve mention… but really, which players have not improved?
    The first team through to the youth team are all doing really brilliantly and that has to be down to pardew not only working wonders with the first team but also getting the right coaching staff on board.


  23. On this list, i’d say Timmy because he’s really gone from our no.2 to world class imo. Top lad, still making mistakes but also importantly he’s still learning, and this bodes well for the future.

    To be honest, I think Simmo had a good season last year anyway and was a bit of an easy target. I’d say Raylor has improved more than him, at least in terms of my opinion. He’s still not a left back, but he’s done well enough when called upon, and his free kicks show his quality.


  24. NorCal… 😉 although my thoughts were, has any one player improved loads more than another? and I’d say not really. Is anyone playing worse or even at the same level they were last year ? I’d say no, every single one of them, who were with us last season have improved on last year, ergo my answer “The Team” :mrgreen:


  25. How do lads and lasses. Remember I only chose these four as they are what I think, but like I said feel free to give us your own nominee 🙂

    Wolfie – Got your mails. At work at the mo so will sort them when I get in. Both good, funny write ups 🙂


  26. Right I’ve decided, for me it’s Tim Krul and Sammy Ameobi.
    Krul because as already said by everyone, he’s taken the no. 1 shirt with ease and has been a colossus so far this season, superb shot stopper and hasnt put a foot wrong.
    Sammy, because he has broken into the first team, even with all of the quality midfielders we have at the moment and that in turn will send a very positive message to the youngest in the club.


  27. Krul is a fantastic shot stopper, no question. He is also a better communicator than Harper and Given in my opinion. My big concern about him is his distribution. He gives possession away often with dodgy kicking and that leads to attacks, prompting exceptional saves granted – but saves he could have avoided having to make if he just got abit more accurate with his passes!

    Still, he has been very impressive for a golakeeper so young. To be honest though, the majority of us always knew he would be something special after his debut at Palermo. Can you believe that was 5 years ago already!


  28. For me it has to be Guthrie ,he has now had a run of games in his natural position and i can see why Keegan raved about him after signing him . Lets all remember the lad has been until now played out of position alot when he has played . Another player worth a mention is Alan Smith , his constant non appierance’s is a god send , long may it continue .It improves team performances massively . 😀


  29. Toonsy I said last season that we should judge Krul after about 40 games and I suppose it is nearing that point. So yeah, 🙂 he’s improved a lot and he’s a very good goalkeeper.


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