TIM Krul’s relishing a showdown against Aston Villa – and his former goalkeeping mentor Shay Given.
Alan Pardew’s Newcastle United side take their unbeaten Premier League record to Villa Park on Saturday.
And in goal for Alex McLeish’s side will be former Newcastle goalkeeper Given, who made 354 league appearances for the club in his 12 years at St James’s Park.
In the latter years of Given’s Newcastle career, Krul was finding his feet on Tyneside after moving from hometown club Den Haag in Holland.
And the 23-year-old credits the Republic of Ireland international – who joined Villa this summer – as being a huge influence.
“It’ll be nice to see Shay Given again,” said Krul.
“When I came to Newcastle in 2005, Shay was more like a teacher to me.
“I learned so much from him, and now I’ll look to put it into practice again. To be playing against him will be another challenge.
“At the moment, we’re all feeling the same – we can’t wait for the next game.”
Krul was on the bench the afternoon United were relegated at Villa Park in May 2009, and the club were beaten 1-0 at the stadium last season.
“It hasn’t been the kindest venue – we know we’ve had some down days there,” added Krul.
“Now we aim to put that right. We’re looking at the brighter side of life these days though.
“We’re looking really good, we can beat anybody.”
Krul and his colleagues have kept three clean sheets in their opening four games, United’s defensive record being the best in the league.
While Pardew’s side were far from their best going forward in Monday night’s goalless draw at Queens Park Rangers, they were resolute defensively, something that hasn’t always been said about Newcastle teams in the Premier League era.
“We would have accepted a point and a clean sheet had we been offered it before the game, especially on a night when the circumstances were going to be difficult,” said Krul
“We were more than pleased with the point.”
“It didn’t work out for them because we are defensively solid. The manager has been hammering on at us to keep it solid, and we’re doing that.
“We have showed again we have a good side. These are the games that we used to throw away, but this time we took what I think is a really good point.
“I was disappointed to let in one against Fulham, but I would have snapped your hand off if you’d told me before the season I’d have three clean sheets from four.”