Guardian of Newcastle

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Tim Krul has been in the shadows at St. James' Park since arriving at the club from hometown side Den Haag for just GBP200,000 in 2006. But the 23-year-old custodian has made the most of the opportunities first given to him by former Magpies boss Chris Hughton and now current boss Alan Pardew. By Dominic Bryant.

Newcastle have been a surprise package in the English Premier League this season and goalkeeper Tim Krul has emerged as a key player for Alan Pardew's side.

The Dutchman has been in the shadows at St. James' Park since arriving at the club from hometown side Den Haag for just GBP200,000 in 2006.

But the 23-year-old custodian has made the most of the opportunities first given to him by former Magpies boss Chris Hughton and now current boss Pardew.

And Pardew believes the sky is the limit for Krul, who is now reaping the rewards for biding his time on Tyneside.

“Tim has a great future in front of him if he keeps his feet on the floor, works on his game. Who knows what he can achieve?” said Pardew. He's not got the experience, but he's got everything else. He kicks well, throws well, talks well, he's confident on crosses and he's a great shot stopper.”

It has been a steady rise for Krul since his tremendous debut at the age of just 18 against Palermo in the UEFA Cup in 2006. Despite his promising debut against the Italian side, Krul found himself out of the side again as he was competing with Steve Harper the understudy to the outstanding Shay Given..

Loan spells at Falkirk and Carlisle followed and the Dutchman's sole season in the Scottish Premier League with Falkirk in the 2007/08 campaign proved to be a success.

First-choice keeper Given joined the Manchester City revolution in 2009 in tough times for Newcastle, who were relegated to the Championship. Despite Given's exit, Krul could still not force his way into the first team due to the fine form of the experienced Harper.

Newcastle made an immediate return to the top flight under Chris Hughton and when Harper sustained an injury against Everton in September 2010, Krul took his chance to establish himself.

Hughton was then replaced by Pardew in December, but the former West Ham boss put his faith in Krul and after starting the final six games of the season, the Magpies keeper received a call-up to the Holland squad and kept a clean sheet in an impressive debut against the mighty Brazil.

Before the start of this season Pardew declared the number one shirt up for grabs. Krul seized his opportunity and cemented himself as the club's first-choice goalkeeper.

A string of superb displays at the beginning of the current campaign led to Newcastle embarking on an 11-game unbeaten run in the EPL, equalling a club record. Krul's ability as a shot-stopper has not gone unnoticed, with the likes of Tottenham and Chelsea linked with a move for the Magpies keeper.

After such a long wait to establish himself at St James' Park, Krul has made up for lost time and he is widely regarded as one of the best keepers in the EPL at the moment.

He could also get his first taste of a major international tournament at the European Championship this summer and if he does get the nod to feature in Poland and Ukraine, then Holland will be in safe hands.

Krul is not married but he has a girlfriend called Claire. It is not known what he is currently driving, though.

FACTFILE Name: Tim Krul Position: Goalkeeper Club: Newcastle DOB: 03/04/1988 Holland caps: 2 Holland debut: v Brazil on June 4, 2011

Moment to remember: Keeping a clean sheet for Holland on his international debut against Brazil.

Moment to forget: Being shown a red card during his loan spell at Falkirk after a fight with Kilmarnock defender Frazier Wright. Krul was embarrassingly stretchered from the field and condemned for his play-acting.

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