With countless injuries across the international break and still more to likely come, many teams across Europe are scrambling to find replacements.
One of those teams is Newcastle United, who lost goalkeeper Tim Krul to what Netherlands manager Danny Blind called a “bad injury” to his knee in the final minutes of a 2-1 win over Kazakhstan, and he was seen on crutches after the match.
Krul, who was already filling in for Ajax shot-stopper Jasper Cillessen after he pulled out of the match with an injury in warmups, was withdrawn in the 83rd minute after an awkward fall, replaced by Joeren Zoet.
The 27-year-old Krul has started 136 of Newcastle’s last 160 Premier League matches, and could be classified as one of – if not the most – critical players on the Newcastle roster.
This was none more evident than last season, when an injury kept Krul out for six league matches and – with backup goalkeeper Rob Elliot also nursing hamstring issue – the club was forced to start young Jak Alnwick who made ghastly mistakes that likely cost Newcastle points against Chelsea and Arsenal. Alnwick was not offered a new contract after the season.
Now, the Magpies are in slightly better shape with Elliot fit and ready to step in, but they still need another option. As a result, they have recalled 18-year-old Freddie Woodman from his loan spell at Crawley Town to provide a backup option. Woodman has just 11 professional club appearances to his name, all coming this season at Crawley Town. Even 29-year-old Elliot is green at the top level, with just 15 Premier League appearances under his belt despite serving as Newcastle’s backup since 2011 (a testament to Krul’s longevity), although he has much more extensive experience at the Championship and League One levels.
Hopefully for Newcastle, Krul’s injury isn’t as bad as his national team manager is making it sound and he can return in due course, but for now, they’ll have to ride what they have. Given their place at the bottom of the table and without a win this season, things continue to get worse for the embattled Magpies.