'Mentally it's a big, dark place' - Krul on his Canaries start and journey back from the brink
From a forgotten man to his new lease of life - Tim Krul is relishing the chance to repay Norwich City's faith in his talents.
A fifth clean sheet in his opening 15 appearances helped City to their eighth win in 10 games with Carrow Road victory over Brentford, in turn keeping them on the coattails of the early Championship leaders.
Such lofty form feels a long way from the mistakes of Krul’s Canaries introduction at the start of the season – as well as his lengthy rehabilitation from a serious knee injury that ended his 11-year association with Newcastle United and put his international ambitions with the Netherlands on hold.
“It was a test of my character,” said Krul of his costly errors at home to West Brom and Leeds.
“It’s always been a strength of myself – character. Everybody makes mistakes. The pressure was on me for sure. I’m the worst critic of myself so I knew I should’ve done better at the start. But I knew it would come good, I believed in myself and the manager believed in me because he brought me here.
“He and the goalie coach (Ed Wooten), they didn’t get carried away and for me that was massive. They gave me the confidence and I’m pleased I’m showing it back to them.”
Krul’s fight for initial form at Norwich has been the final obstacle of a long journey back from ankle surgery and then a serious knee injury little more than three years ago.
“Of course I had doubts I’d ever get back,” admitted Krul. “It’s normal. I was out for more than 12-13 months and I couldn’t really get back. It’s hard. Mentally it’s a big, dark place.
“I’m pleased I went to Brighton. It was a great set-up there as well, some really good people, and it gave me another year to get back sharp and fit to where I needed to be.
“I was ready to get back into the Premier League – but I didn’t get the opportunity there. So that’s why it was nice in the summer. I made a clear decision I wanted to go and play. I had options to go on the bench somewhere or challenge, but I just wanted to be the out and out number one.
“So when Daniel Farke (City head coach) rang me and Stuart Webber (sporting director), it was nice to be wanted – especially at 30 – and I always want to play for a club where I feel valued. They kept their promise and it’s amazing to be part of something like this at the moment.”
It all means Krul can appreciated the fitness he now has – along with the chance to remind people he is still around and far from finished.
Krul added: “Even at Brighton I’d get fans looking at the badge I was wearing and go, ‘Oh you’re playing for Brighton’ – even now, they say the same but about Norwich.
“Obviously playing for Newcastle for 11 years, people only knew me from there. Then a bad injury happens – and it’s just nice to crawl back up to where I want to be. I’ve got a lot of years in me and this is a great club to be stepping away from it.
“I’ve always been a fan of this club and had some good games here. It’s a massive club and we’ve got some great players here, some really big talents.
“I feel great. There’s no doubt in the last 14 months I’ve been fit, so it’s nice. I just want to go out and enjoy myself and be important, get clean sheets.
“At the start I felt good but it wasn’t really going for me, a bit of luck or movement – these balls move a lot and it doesn’t matter how good you feel… But that’s part of my job and it’s just so exciting to be back, for sure.”
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