You can’t expect to get anywhere at any level of football if your goalkeeper is your best player, week in, week out.
I think that’s fairly obvious really and yet it’s a scenario that Norwich City have found themselves for most of this season. In the summer, there was plenty of talk on social media about Tim Krul and how he may not be good enough to play in the Premier League. The arrival of a big reputation goalkeeper in the shape of Ralf Fahrmann came as little surprise to anybody although what has subsequently happened has surprised plenty on the message boards, it would seem.
Fahrmann signed on a year-long loan deal reportedly costing the Canaries a 3m euro loan fee and all of Ralf’s wages. Fahrmann’s progress as Schalke’s number one had been stunted by the emergence of Alexander Nubel despite a clamouring among many German fans for Fahrmann to be part of the German World Cup squad in 2018. It’s not turned out well for Ralf in Norwich though as Krul has upped his game to new levels, keeping the loan keeper on the City bench.
Last week, I read a piece from Sports Witness which had quotes from Schalke’s Head of Sport, Jochen Schneider in which he said that the German giants would be happy to see Fahrmann return after “He then, unfortunately, decided to move to Norwich City, where the story hasn’t worked out as he wanted it to, as we wanted it to.”
This is one of those situations whereby if Krul hadn’t stepped up or he had suffered an injury then the signing of Farhmann could’ve been seen as a masterstroke. As it is, Norwich have had a very experienced keeper, with 196 Bundesliga appearances to his name, warming the bench. Even when Krul did miss out through injury though, Ralf found himself unfortunately injured with Michael McGovern filling his gloves. That meant that Ralf’s opportunities sadly passed him by.
Tim Krul’s performances though have been steadily getting better and better. Maybe that’s simply because he’s faced a lot of shots but whatever the reason, and maybe Fahrmann’s signing has pushed him on, he is, in my opinion, a big contender for the Barry Butler Memorial Trophy. The very fact that I’m thinking that, tells you all you need to know about the season that Norwich City have had.
In the last two games, Krul has made a couple of stellar saves. His double from Mo Salah and Naby Keita against Liverpool was breathtaking and he then followed that up with a stunning stop from Ruben Neves at the end of the first half against Wolves, when he tipped Neves’ thunderbolt free-kick onto the woodwork.
On his own though, Krul hasn’t been able to win games and it’s those in front of him and their organisation, which against Wolves was shocking, that have given him these chances to shine. With Euro 2020 on the horizon in the summer, Krul was watched against Liverpool along with Virgil van Dijk and Gigi Wijnaldum by the Netherlands manager, Ronald Koeman and there does seem to be a growing momentum that suggests Tim is a contender for the Dutch squad again.
If that happens then it will be thoroughly deserved because Krul has stepped up his game and as I’ve said, the fact he’s kept a keeper like Ralf Fahrmann on the bench speaks volumes.