Edwin van der Sar set a very high benchmark for Dutch goalkeeping in this country with his decorated six year spell at Manchester United and his calm and authority have been sorely missed this season. However, Tim Krul and Michel Vorm have continued this proud tradition as the Premier League’s outstanding goalkeeping performers thus far this term.
Vorm and Krul are second and third choice for the national side, behind Ajax’s Maarten Stekelenburg, and if they maintain their current high standards, Holland will benefit from very healthy competition ahead of next summer’s European Championships.
Signed for his footballing ability, as well as his goalkeeping talents, Brendan Rodgers has been effusive in his praise for Vorm, who has proven a great fit within Swansea’s passing ethos. “He is a real bargain for us,” claims Rodgers. “He has been fantastic, he doesn’t get called upon an awful lot but when he is, he contributes.”
Krul joined Newcastle from ADO Den Haag at 17 and provided intermittent demonstrations of his talent, occasionally filling in for Shay Given or Steve Harper since his 2006 senior debut. Since Alan Pardew’s appointment last December, Harper has been ousted as first choice and Krul has been instrumental in providing Newcastle with the defensive solidarity that has been lacking in recent years. “This last year has been the main one for me,” Krul explained recently. “It’s been a great experience for me to play 20 games for Newcastle and then make my debut for Holland.”
Exceeding all expectations with an excellent start to the season, Krul was in inspired form throughout Newcastle’s 2-1 win against Fulham with another impressive display in the 2-1 win at Wolves. Perhaps the finest performance of Krul’s career arrived in the 1-1 draw at Old Trafford, denying efforts from Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra, Javier Hernandez and Ryan Giggs as Manchester United lay siege to the Newcastle goal.
Krul and Vorm faced each other for the first time at the weekend and it should come as no surprise that the match ended goalless. Krul was largely untroubled, while a combination of Vorm and Demba Ba’s haphazard finishing resulted in Newcastle drawing a blank. Newcastle and Swansea’s Premier League fate depends on the continued excellence of their Dutch stoppers, with a European Championship berth providing an added incentive.
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