Krul’s rise is vital for Newcastle’s renaissance

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Newcastle United

1st Team Goalkeepers: Tim Krul (24), Rob Elliot (26), Steve Harper (37)

Last season was Tim Krul’s breakthrough season. He’d got first team opportunities in the past and showed signs of ability, but he really came of age during Alan Pardew’s first full season in charge. The goalscoring exploits of Demba Ba and later Papiss Cisse were credited with firing the Magpies to their best finish since 2004, but Krul’s performances deserve to be mentioned as a key part of the success. In the early part of the season, he was simply sensational, pulling off incredible reflex saves on an almost weekly basis. At the other end, the goals kept coming, but without Krul’s contribution they wouldn’t have earned as many points as they did.

One long standing criticism of Krul was his tendency to have a rush of blood to the head and do something ill-advised, but last season there was a maturity to his play. Uncertainty and jittery-ness look to be a thing of the past and he has become one of the best keepers in the league – a fact backed up by (not unwarranted) calls for him to start at Euro 2012 ahead of Maarten Stekelenburg for the Netherlands. If Newcastle are to build on the progress of last season, Krul needs to maintain that high standard of performance and there’s little reason to think he won’t do that.

A sign of just how much Krul has developed is Pardew’s willingness to let the highly rated Fraser Forster join Celtic permanently. At one point, it looked like the Englishman would challenge Krul for the starting place, but the Dutchman has grabbed the number one jersey and wasn’t going to let it go anytime soon.

Nowadays, Newcastle have the option of youth or experience in reserve. Steve Harper is closing in on 20 years at the club. For much of that time, he has found opportunities limited but he’s a very solid back up. He’s not the most agile goalkeeper in the league, but he does the basics well and useful to have around the place. Last year it looked like he might move on in search of more first team football, but after a spell on loan at Brighton, looks happy to stay.

Rob Elliot is the more youthful option. Signed last season from Charlton, he has yet to get an extended run in the first team, with just one league cup appearance to his name. He’s got plenty of experience under his belt, so if he is called upon, there should be little to worry about for the Toon Army faithful.

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Euro 2012 – Group B goalkeeping preview

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Rarely has there been a stronger group assembled in international football. With all four members of Group B nestled inside FIFA’s top 10, it’s been labeled the ‘group of death’. It doesn’t lack for goalkeeping talent either and here’s a rundown of the twelve vying for game time at Euro 2012.

Denmark

The Danes go into the tournament with a trio of goalkeepers lacking experience at international level. Between them Stephan Andersen, Kasper Schmiechel and Anders Lindegaard have a grand total of 15 caps.

Anderson (30) is likely to get the nod by virtue of his slight advantage in experience and strong showing for Evian in Ligue 1. He’s a very technically correct goalkeeper with good reflexes and tidy hands. He’s arguably the least globally famous of the Danes goalkeeping ranks, but he’s a reliable presence.

Lindegaard (28) had a mixed bag of a season for Manchester United. At one point he looked unbeatable and, in contrast to the struggles of David De Gea, the keeper more able to handle the pressure of playing at Old Trafford. It didn’t take long for more suspect performances to come however and combined with the young Spaniard finding his feet, he was relegated to the bench. He wasn’t helped by injury towards the end of the season and his inactivity has counted against him.

It’s hard to disassociate Schmeichel junior with the standards set by his Dad. Examined in his own right, Kasper is a good pro, capable of pulling off some saves, but also a little too error-prone so far in his career. He has played for Denmark’s underage teams, but has yet to earn his first senior cap. If all goes to plan for Morten Olsen and his team, that won’t change at this tournament.

Germany
Manuel Neuer went to World Cup 2010 as the replacement for the tragic Robert Enke. He was good, but a little raw and it showed. Two years on, he’s got two good seasons under his belt and he looks genuinely world-class. His effort to keep out Drogba’s header in the Champions League final wasn’t his finest hour, but it was one possible mistake in a season of excellent performances.

Behind him in the order is the vastly experienced Tim Wiese. Ideally Joachim Loew would prefer not to need him, but if called upon, the 30-year-old newly signed Hoffenheim keeper will be a reliable deputy. He made a few high-profile blunders a few seasons back, but he bounced back to become a more solid keeper. Ever the man for the blunt quote, former Arsenal and Germany keeper Jens Lehmann is less convinced telling the media “If Neuer gets injured, we have no chance.”

The ‘one for the future’ in the goalkeeping division is Ron-Robert Zieler. The former Manchester United youth team player has excelled since returning to his homeland. He has just one senior international cap to his name, but has played for Germany all the way up the age groups, including the successful Under 19 European Championships campaign of 2008.

Netherlands

Spain undoubtedly have the strongest goalkeeping division at the Euros, but the Netherlands are a close second. Maarten Stekelenburg was excellent in the Oranje’s run to the final of the 2010 World Cup and it’s his experience that makes him the preferred number 1 over his two immensely talented rivals.

Michel Vorm goes into the tournament on the back of an excellent season with Swansea. His reputation grew with every Premier League performance. He’s arguably a more agile and athletic keeper than Stekelenburg, but may suffer for being a less authoritative figure under the high ball.

Tim Krul was another Dutchman to have an excellent Premier League season. He has some lightening quick reflexes (see his string of point blank saves for Newcastle this season) and more command of his penalty area than Vorm, so it looks like a lack of experience is the main issue undermining his claims.

Portugal
The official line coming from the Portuguese camp is that the goalkeeping role is up for grabs with each player having an opportunity to impress. That stance was backed up with the rotation used in the friendlies coming in to the tournament.

Rui Patricio of Sporting Lisbon is most likely to get the nod however. He was the choice for the latter stages of the qualifying campaign and is arguably the most naturally talented of the three. He lacks the experience at club of his two older compatriots, but his natural athleticism and reflexes make up for it. His handling can be a little untidy at times, but as that’s some his rivals also sometimes struggle with, it’s not a major disadvantage. Rumours have done the rounds about a possible move the Manchester United and although that makes little sense, it does suggest how highly he is rated.

Eduardo began the road to Poland and Ukraine as the first choice, but lost his place after slipping down the pecking order at Benfica. Something of a penalty saving specialist, he’s an agile keeper, but one that doesn’t exert the greatest command of his penalty area. To his credit, he played all of Portugal’s matches at World Cup 2010, conceding just one goal in four games and keeping three clean sheets.

Beto is almost certainly rated as the third choice of the three. He hasn’t been able to leapfrog Helton at Porto and spent last season on loan in Romania, playing for CFR Cluj. There’s no doubting his supreme agility or tenacity, but you get the feeling he tends to ham it up for the cameras, which isn’t ideal. At 6 foot tall, he lacks height and as a result he can be poor under the high ball.


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Szczesny Stars For Arsenal – 10 Goalkeepers Who Had A Good 2011

10 Goalkeepers Who’ll Look Back On 2011 with Fondness

Szczesny

Tim Krul (Newcastle)
Much improved on the Krul of old. For years the talent was obvious but the confidence was lacking. Last season was a case in point whereby his ability to make big saves was undermined with rushes of blood to the head and a string of inexplicable decisions. The 2011-12 season has seen a much improved Krul. He has developed an air of genuine authority and dominated his penalty area like never before. He has had a string of truly exceptional performances for Newcastle and established himself as one of the best in the league.

Wojciech Szczesny (Arsenal)
Not dissimilar to Krul, Szczesny seems to be a more commanding and mature presence this season than the earlier version we had seen. After an impressive start to his Arsenal career, he made a handful of slip-ups that in some quarters warranted the application of the lazy and grossly unfair label of being ‘another Wenger keeper’. Since then however, he has responded superbly and his superb performances early in the season prevented a bad start to the season being a whole lot worse. Since then, Robin Van Persie has taken centre stage, but the contribution of the young Pole is not to be underestimated.

Michel Vorm (Utrecht, now Swansea)
Dutch football has few issues in producing top class talent, but the record of that talent flourishing in the Premier League is more patchy. Vorm had caught the eye while at Utrecht and thankfully his transition to English football has been more Van Nistelrooy than Kezman. His speed, agility and athleticism have lit up the league and already Swansea know they’ll have a job on their hands fending off the advances of the cash-rich vultures in the summer. Buy of the season? There’s a few months to go, but he’s already established a useful lead.

Manuel Neuer (Schalke, now Bayern Munich)
2011 wasn’t exactly his breakout year, but it did see him claim his place amongst the world’s elite. He was outstanding in Schalke’s unlikely run to the semi-finals of the Champions League and since he has handled the move to Bayern Munich very well, particularly in view of some of the pointless vitriol aimed at him by a small minority of Bayern ‘fans’. It’ll take another decade of high quality performances to establish himself as one of the greats in Bayern’s storied history, but the early evidence is he’s well positioned to do it.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Borussia Monchengladbach)
These are halcyon days for German goalkeepers and amidst a range of young custodians currently impressing in the Bundesliga, ter Stegen is arguably the most remarkable. He made his senior debut for the club as an 18 year old back in April of this year and has since has establish himself as not only first choice, but one of the most exciting goalkeeping talents in European football. Agile, aggressive and with a penchant for vocal organisation of his defenders, he’s very much in keeping with what we’ve come to expect from a German goalkeeper and it’s only a matter of time before he puts pressure on Neuer for the starting berth with the Mannschaft.

Ochoa

Guillermo Ochoa (Ajaccio)
The football world has known about Ochoa for several years now, but after a minor drugs controversy the interest of Europe’s big clubs dropped of substantially. Cognoscente of this fact, the Mexican made the surprise move of joining unfashionable Corsican outfit Ajaccio over the summer. Ochoa has always indicated this is intended as a step in the rehabilitation of his reputation with a view for moving up the ladder of European football at a later date and so far the gamble has paid off. Although his team sit at the bottom of the league with the worst goals conceded record, he has been in exceptional form, putting in a number of excellent displays to at least give the campaign a semblance of respectability. Ochoa will be moving on at the end of the season (if not sooner) and his performances in 2011 will be a large part of the reason why.

Thibaut Courtois (Genk, Atletico Madrid via Chelsea)
For Courtois 2011 merely continued the whirlwind that began the year previous when he broke through during Genk’s championship winning in Belgium. Immediately he stood out as something special, but there was still a degree of surprise when Chelsea snapped first and signed him for a fee rumoured to be around the £8 million mark. It was going to take a while before he truly challenged Petr Cech for the starting spot, so he was sent out to Atletico Madrid to learn his trade. This season has been typically turbulent for the red and white half of the Spanish capital, but the youngster has emerged with great credit for a series of athletic and mature displays. Given the startling collapse in Cech’s form, the eyes of the Chelsea coaching staff will be watching closely in coming months. If the call comes in 2012, Courtois might well be able to answer it.

Willy Caballero (Malaga)
As both clubs have regularly occupied the same tier of Spanish football in recent years, it feels a little odd to say that Malaga plucked Caballero from obscurity when they signed him as emergency cover from Elche earlier this year. With their petro-dollars however, the Anchovies have become an undisputed big fish of La Liga and Caballero has established his own place in the pond with a few months of solid performances. In a league filled with supremely talented goalkeepers, he doesn’t stand out as the most naturally gifted of players but he has an uncommon determination about him and that invaluable knack of always being able to get some part of his body in the way of the ball. The millions burning a hole in the pocket of the owner may mean they soon go more a more high profile name between the posts, but for the moment Caballero is a reliable part of the revolution.

Jason Steele (Middlesbrough)
Young, gifted and English has been something of a curse for goalkeepers in the last couple of decades, but this season Steele has suggested there’s something more to him than bluster and a nation’s desire to build up young goalkeepers only to knock them down. Boro have the best defensive record in the Championship this season and although he can’t claim all the credit for that, he has certainly played his part in it. You couldn’t exactly classify Tony Mowbray’s men as rampant free-scorers and as such, Steele’s saves have been hugely important in seeing his team through games that are balanced on a knife-edge. He’s got the agility and reflexes to become a top class keeper and although the plan will be to go up with Middlesbrough, he may find himself in the Premier League next season regardless of how the promotion push goes. There’s going to be a few blips along the way, but Steele has enjoyed a good year and it may be the first of many more.

Brad Friedel (Tottenham)
During his last few months at Aston Villa, Friedel gave the impression he was a goalkeeper coming to the end of his career. He was still capable of producing a moment of brilliance, but the legs seemed heavy and his limbs unable to execute the impulses of his brain. Were it not for financial difficulties, retirement may well have been the order of the day, but some bad investments have necessitated extending his career into his 5th decade. Unsurprisingly, Harry Redknapp wasn’t put off by his age and the risk has been rewarded with a series of high quality performances for Spurs. Again, he may not be around for much longer, but he’s enjoying a wonderful Indian summer and fans of goalkeeping would be well advised to enjoy it while they can.

Premier League: Arsenal goalkeeper leads an impressive generation

Szczesny

Potential is always the great imponderable.
It’s easy to identify, difficult to quantify and never guaranteed to be fulfilled.
It’s capable of vanishing in front of your eyes quicker than clubs that actually want to sign Carlos Tevez. If anything, it’s even harder to examine when looking at goalkeepers who may have to wait months and years for their chance in the 1st team, but one of the main storylines of the Premier League season has been the number of young goalkeepers making huge strides towards delivering on their undoubted natural ability. Here’s a look at some of the youthful generation impressing in the early stages of the campaign.

The irony of Arsenal finally unearthing a world-class goalie only for the rest of the team to suffer high-profile difficulties is something that’s been pointed out by various people – some with more joy than others. Since being promoted to the starting role in the Arsenal team, Wojciech Szczesny has performed to a level that suggests he’s a player of real quality. He has earned some flack for a couple of errors, but thankfully he has shown the mental strength to bounce back and more than that, improve markedly. Over the summer, he seems to have not only matured, but improved his already impressive agility, handling and command of his penalty area. His team-mates haven’t helped much by way of keeping his sheets clean, but taken in isolation, he has been in excellent form and looks to be the long-term solution to the Gunners’ goalkeeping issues. There will be blips in the future, but he’s displayed the mentality to suggest he’ll be able to great through any future issues.

Almost a carbon copy of the Pole is Tim Krul of Newcastle United. I questioned Alan Pardew’s apparent willingness to let Fraser Forster leave for Celtic, but at the moment the decision to entrust the Dutchman as first choice looks inspired. He has showcased his fantastic reflexes and agility numerous times this season, but the most encouraging aspect of his performances is his ever improving calmness. Krul had a tendency to litter his performances with ill-advised decision-making that undermined his skill, but during the off-season – whether consciously or otherwise – he seems to have developed a better sense of when to take command and when to leave it to his defenders. He has been excellent and without him we may again be talking about another Newcastle side playing nice football, but with little to show for it apart from an array of frozen beer-bellies on the terraces of St. James’ Park.

David De Gea is an obvious choice. The knives were out for the young Spaniard after a shaky start to his Man United career, but he has shown great resilience under pressure to recover. At one point the temptation of going with the in-form Anders Lindegaard must have been hard to resist for Sir Alex, but De Gea’s performance at Anfield was one that highlighted the attributes that eventually persuaded Fergie to part with a substantial sum of money for his services. The excellent saves garnered many of the non-racism row headlines, but the best part was seeing the authority with week he commanded his penalty area and took charge when required. That’s an important step in his development at Old Trafford and talk of ‘turning a corner’ may still be pre-mature, but it’s certainly not without justification.

John Ruddy of Norwich is another goalkeeper I’m more than happy to eat a large slice of humble pie over. In my pre-season preview of the goalkeepers of each Premier League club I expressed doubts about his level of experience and his reliability, but aside from the dismissal at Stamford Bridge, he has looked every bit the Premier League standard goalkeeper. Mistakes blighted him last season, but the early evidence is he’s now a more focussed player and the Canaries are reaping the benefits. Wayne Hennessy is also worthy of a mention, but in his case his improvement has been over the last couple of seasons rather than over the summer and on a similar theme, Asmir Begovic has continued his longer term renaissance for Stoke.

There’s certain to be be mistakes and bumps in the road to the top for all of the Premier League’s young goalkeepers, but the indications are there’s a generation of talent emerging in the top flight at present.

Premier League 2011/12 GK Preview: Newcastle United

Newcastle

Fraser Forster

1st Team Squad Goalkeepers: Tim Krul, Fraser Forster, Steve Harper, Ole Soderberg

Overview: The goalkeeping division of the Newcastle squad is one of the most competitive and interesting in the Premier League. Three goalkeepers with different strengths and weaknesses all of whom will think the starting position is theirs for the taking. Steve Harper represents the experience; the old hand who uses his nous to accentuate his natural ability. Tim Krul is a more energetic – sometimes even frenetic – young goalkeeper who thinks he can deal with everything that gets thrown at him. In terms of physique, Fraser Forster is the more traditional option, but height is far from being his only strength. He’s highly agile and blessed with excellent reflexes. He possibly doesn’t command his penalty area with the authority befitting of a man of his stature and his handling could do with improvement but his season at Celtic has greatly aided his development to the point where you would have little concern about him being a Premier League starter and he can’t be too far from Fabio Capello’s thoughts for the England squad. Second guessing what’s going to happen at St. James Park is a hazardous occupation, but of the trio, my gut instinct is Forster is the best option – however Alan Pardew seems to disagree. The speculation is he can return to Glasgow on a permanent basis for the right fee. The magic number to keep both sides happy is thought to be around £3.5 million but with money tight in the SPL, Celtic may struggle to meet that valuation. Forster has featured in much of the Magpies’ pre-season programme, but it’s difficult to draw any firm conclusions from that. The chances are Tim Krul will start the season as first choice, but as Pardew has two more than capable options ready to step-in, don’t be surprised to see changes throughout the season to account for fluctuations in form.

Worst Case Scenario: Even if Krul and Harper have poor seasons, you would imagine Newcastle should be safe. Their worst case scenario is a longer term nightmare. If they let Forster go too cheap and he continues to improve like I think he might – with Krul and Harper struggling all the while – they’ll end up looking foolish and with an expensive bill to find a suitable replacement.

What will probably happen: Krul will continue to perform well, but still have those rushes of blood to the head. If he’s not sold by the end of August, Forster will step in. He’s not the finished article yet, so may also make errors, in which case Steve Harper will get the job until his performance dips or injuries catch up with him – whichever happens first. I’ve heard good reports of Soderberg. If Forster stays, he’s likely to go out on loan, but if the move to Celtic happens, he’ll probably kept around as cover for Krul and Harper.

The Best Young Premier League Goalkeepers 2010-11

MOG Premier League Awards
It’s awards season and in the absence of any goalkeepers actually making the PFA Player of the Year or Young Player of the Year shortlists, here’s a look at the best performing goalkeepers of the season. It’s not exactly a list of the most talented goalkeepers, but rather the ones who have consistently performed to the best of their abilities. I haven’t ranked them, but here’s my shortlist of young goalkeepers.

Asmir Begovic
After a worrying start to the season, Begovic has turned things around at Stoke

Asmir Begovic
Usurping such an established Premier League performer as Thomas Sorensen should tell you all you need to know about how good a season it has been for Begovic. Having initially got his chance due to injury to the Dane towards the end of last season, he got the nod as the team’s first choice for the new season and he hasn’t disappointed. What makes his progress this season particularly remarkable is the inauspicious way in which the season began after a controversial absence from a League Cup tie in August. At that point, Tony Pulis suggested an early exit from the Britannia Stadium only six months after joining the club wasn’t out of the question, but the bridges have been rebuilt and the Bosnia and Herzegovina international has become a firm favourite thanks to a string of good performances. He’s tremendously agile and commands his penalty area with the confidence of a Premier League veteran. It wasn’t looking likely last August, but Begovic has the potential to be a reliable performer for the Potters for many years to come.

Wayne Hennessy
The story of Wayne Hennessy’s season sadly mirrors that of his club a little too closely. Wolves have played good football, performed well throughout, but just not got the results they would have hoped. That’s a general assessment of how Hennessy has got on too. In numerous games during the season he has made several good saves only to be beaten by that crucial goal that turns a win into a draw or a point into nothing. To say he has been perfect would be disingenuous, but he has been very good and responded well after moments that he won’t be overly fond of recollecting. Last weekend was a case in point because after getting beaten to a cross by Jermaine Beckford, he pulled off a couple of excellent saves to keep Wolves in the game. Not for the first time this season, it was in vain, but all the scrapping around hasn’t been for nothing and until last weekend at least, Mick McCarthy’s men had one of the better goal differences of the teams locked in the relegation battle. It’s still not looking too bad and Wolves are going to need Hennessy’s smart reflexes and agility in the closing games of the season. If he can keep a couple of clean sheets and Wolves can capitalise with a couple of goals at the other end, safety is a possibility. Hennessy is certainly good enough to hold up his end of the bargain.

Simon Mignolet
Missing a goalkeeper of Craig Gordon’s quality would normally deal a crippling blow to a team’s chances of having a good season, but such has been the ease with which the Belgian has stepped into the breach, it’s barely been noticed. A string of fine performances from Mignolet helped the Black Cats to a lofty position in the table and although that position has taken a serious dip in recent weeks, one more win should see Steve Bruce’s men safe and surely most fans would he happy with that considering the solid foundations that have been laid this season. This season also saw him make his competitive debut for Belgium. At the age of 22, he’s could already be amongst the Premier League’s best, but the best thing is he is open to serious improvement. He has the natural talent – as seen from his fine reflexes and agility – and under the guidance of Sunderland goalkeeping coach, Nigel Spink, he should become even better. He could do with being a little more assured in his handling and hang on to the ball at the first attempt more often, but Mignolet looks to be on course for the very top.

Honourable mentions
Wojciech Szczesny – did very well when thrown into the deep end for Arsenal, but a mistake in the Carling Cup Final followed soon after by a virtually season-ending injury has seen it finish on something of sour note. Tim Krul was more than capable in replacing Steve Harper for Newcastle and has the talent to be unhappy with sitting on a Premier League bench. It’s hard not to mention Joe Hart for Man City who pulled off some truly breath-taking saves in the course of the season. He started the term well, but a string of mistakes have brought some serious question marks. He has the ability, but his attitude and concentration have undermined him.

Newcastle’s Goalkeeper Dilemma

Harper and Krul

One v One at St. James’ Park
Convincing the Toon Army that he’s not part of a Cockney Mafia with the sole intent of destroying the club can wait, there’s important work to be done. He’s barely in the Newcastle hot-seat and wet Tyneside week, but already Alan Pardew faces a key selection dilemma. With Steve Harper returning from injury and Tim Krul impressing many with his performances in his senior team-mate’s absence, he’s got a difficult choice to make. It would be harsh on Krul to be axed after a string of good displays, but equally Harper was Hughton’s first choice when he was fit so in full health it stands to reason he should be afforded the chance to earn his place back.

It’s an important decision because right now Newcastle’s season is at a crossroads. Whilst the victory over Liverpool was a great start to the Pardew era, the weaknesses remained obvious. As Wolves are showing, playing nice football is well and good, but without the results it’s going to be a long hard slog. Newcastle are likely to need every point they can get and picking the right keeper could be the difference between a relegation scrap and an outside shot at a European place, especially to a defence as fragile as Newcastle’s.

Krul has played only a handful of Premier League games and is very much the long term option. He’s young and will make mistakes on the path to being a genuinely top class goalkeeper, but there are signs he can make it right to the top. There’s a youthful enthusiasm to his performances that is sometimes in danger of spilling over into a poor decision – being too hasty in coming off his line or being to eager to come for a cross to showcase the command of his penalty area. His handling also needs a bit of work. He sometimes doesn’t catch it cleanly at the first attempt and needs another bite at the cherry to tidy up. In the Premier League, that will get punished before too long. All in all however, there is real potential. He’s very quick and agile and the bonus is the areas of his game that need work are things that will improve with experience. He should be a Magpie for a long time to come.

But Alan Pardew needs results now and that’s where the difficult choice comes in. Steve Harper is a very good goalkeeper. He’s reliable and it’s difficult to recall significant errors on his part down through the years. He does the basics right and what’s asked of him with an unspectacular unfussiness. He was the goalkeeper beaten by Xabi Alonso from his own half at Anfield a few years ago, but rational analysis of that shows his starting position wasn’t really the issue, but rather the fact he lost his footing in the scramble to get to the exocet from Alonso. Ironically, if he kept his footing, it wouldn’t have been a scramble, it would have been a straightforward save. 

Perhaps part of the reason he isn’t held in higher regard is down to his apparent contentment with being back-up to Shay Given and spending much of his career on the 1st team bench or the reserves’ team sheet. He never seemed to express displeasure at the situation or agitate for a move elsewhere where he could show his talents on a more regular basis and whilst that’s exactly the type of attitude a manager loves to have within his squad, it is ultimately a lack of ambition and a waste of the best years of his career. There were some loan moves, but it’s only at the age of 35 that he’s getting his chance in the Premier League. Maybe when he hangs up the gloves, he’ll look back at the years between 28 and 35 and think a regular starting position in the Premier League could have been enough to earn him some England caps. Newcastle do pay big club salaries, so maybe the natural human desire to feather his nest can partially explain the lack of career progression.

With both keepers at different ends of there careers, the handover could be smooth with no-one losing out to any significant degree. The goalkeeping department has the potential to be stable and reliable for several seasons to come. How often can you say that about anything involving Newcastle?