Newcastle have never really suffered with goalkeeping problems in their time in the Premiership, largely due to the long service given by the brilliant Shay Given. After Shay’s departure from the club there was a more than able replacement waiting to step into the Irishman’s shoes, in the loyal Steve Harper. Harper proved his worth to the club and after years of patience he was installed as number one in a season where he delivered plenty of top draw displays in Newcastle’s promotion campaign from the Championship.
This season has seen the emergence of Tim Krul who has bags of potential and then there is the returning Fraser Forster who has had two successful loan spells with Norwich and Celtic. Alan Pardew now has the tough job of deciding who should be the Newcastle number one for next season. I would expect Pardew to go with Harper, as not only is he the most experienced, but he has waited in the wings long enough to deserve his crack at being number one in the Premiership. Granted there is no place for sentiment and Harper’s years of waiting for his chance don’t entitle him to the jersey this season, but I feel he will have the edge and become first choice. Harper started off as number one last season but due to a knee injury his season was cut short ,which gave Tim Krul the opportunity to show what he could do.
It was an opportunity the Dutchman took with both hands, as he made serious strides in his career at St James’ Park with some tremendous displays against the likes of Arsenal and Man United. Off the back of his impressive performances for Newcastle, Krul has picked up international recognition, which will make him all the more determined to gain the number one spot next season. Krul would probably be my choice for number one next year, after he applied himself so impressively last season finishing the year in the sticks. There was the odd blunder along the way and his kicking had tendencies to be erratic at times, but all in all Krul proved himself to be another quality shot stopper on Newcastle’s books.
The third option for Pardew to consider is Fraser Forster. The 23 year old has picked up a Championship medal in League One and a Scottish Cup winner’s medal at Celtic so far is his fledgling career. His loan experience has provided a great learning curve for the young goalkeeper and he has made a name for himself as a result of his exploits. Whether he is ready to take on the mantle of the Newcastle number one jersey this season is unlikely, but providing Newcastle hold onto him, it will be good to see Fraser and Tim fighting it out for the number one spot down the line. I would expect Pardew to loan out Forster again leaving Harper and Krul as his two main goalkeepers for the season ahead.
Newcastle have a bright future in goal and whatever Pardew decides he has three quality goalkeepers at his disposal that will spend pre-season trying to convince him they are the best man for the job. I hope to see Tim Krul walking out in August in the opening game, but whoever gets the nod will have enough about them to justify their claim to the number one spot.