Poor old Steve McClaren. If sitting bottom of the Premier League after eight games wasn’t bad enough, last weekend brought the news that first choice keeper, and one the most senior players in his squad, Tim Krul will be ruled out for the season with a severe knee injury. Add that to the growing numbers of players on the treatment table at St James’ and it doesn’t bode well for Newcastle fans.
The latest paper-talk has suggested Victor Valdes could ease McClaren’s defensive woes as he looks to end his dreadful year under Louis van Gaal. The Mirror reports Man United could terminate his contract, after just two appearances over 10 months, providing he does not sign for any title rivals (unlike Petr Cech’s move across London in the summer). The thought of such a decorated and talented stopper arriving on Tyneside to save the day might be too much for some fans, but there is some method in the madness.
Landing a goalkeeper of Valdes’ ilk could prove to be the spark that Newcastle so desperately need to get their season going. The Spaniard will surely be looking to turn around his time in England and aim to leave with his legacy intact. Whether the Champions League winner decides to travel to the North East or not, whoever steps into Krul’s boots won’t be short of chances to prove their worth to McClaren.
The prospect of heading into the Wear-Tyne derby without a No. 1, on the back of terrible form and the possibility of facing former fan favourite Kevin Nolan under Sam Allardyce is certainly one that will make many Magpies wince. However, it does offer a great opportunity for the Dutchman’s deputies to prove their worth.
With the worst goal difference in the league, conceding on average 2.1 goals per game, his defence is far from watertight and will ensure whoever is picked between the sticks will have their hands full. The severity of the Ducthman’s cruciate ligament injury provides plenty of time for Robbie Elliot and the recently recalled Freddie Woodman to stake their claim in the starting eleven, before Karl Darlow returns from an injury of his own.
Krul’s injury towards the end of 2014 marked the start of a poor run of form for United and was a baptism of fire for young, local lad Jak Alnwick. Whether Valdes arrives or not, the lack of Premier League experience behind Krul is worrying and should be addressed in January if the former England boss wants to avoid returning to the Championship.