After 408 long days, Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul has played his first competitive football match.
Following games in training and then a friendly, Monday night saw the Dutch international play his first match for Ajax, which was also his first game in Dutch professional football.
There were only 1,423 paying spectators to see it, as Tim Krul turned out in the first division (second tier) of Dutch football for Ajax ll.
Nevertheless, an emotional Krul declared ‘There is light at the end of the tunnel…to play on a stadium once again, beautiful’.
The Newcastle loan player and his teammates were away from home at Utrecht ll and the goalkeeper’s only disappointment was that he let in two first half goals, Ajax ll twice equalising and this keeps them fifth in the table in the First Division.
Tim Krul is already looking forward to Friday night when Ajax ll take on Telstar, then eventually he is targeting the first team.
These 408 days have been a lot longer than Krul was expecting but now he is back playing competitive football, he expects his ‘rhythm and sharpness’ to come on in leaps and bounds.
Good luck to Tim Krul and fingers crossed we shortly see him playing first team football for Ajax, then after that, who knows?
“I am glad I made 90 minutes after all this time. Playing games is the most beautiful thing there is.
“I’ve had a really tough year, I have just been in the gym.
“You need to be mentally tough but I’m glad that there is light at the end of the tunnel…and now to play in a stadium once again, beautiful.
“I think it was a nice match for the neutral spectator.
“It went up and down, a lot of chances, but sorry that I conceded two goals.
“As the game continued I felt more and more comfortable. I am already looking forward to Friday’s game (Ajax ll play Telstar on Friday night), then I hope to make more steps.
“I must show that I am fully fit again. It has been a very serious injury.
“Your rhythm and sharpness. It still takes a little longer than I actually had hoped but that’s just the reality.
“I’m still in the process to become even fitter and I will continue to work every day to get that edge.
“I train very well with (Ajax keepers) Andre Onana and Diederik Boer. Onana (current number one) is very sharp and good and I just have to be ready when the coach needs me.
“I look at myself right now, the season is long and you never know what happens.
“I have to grab as many minutes. There are so many games to come. If the coach says he needs me, I have to show who Tim Krul is.
“I know who that is. I just need that really good feeling as I am still recovering – but I’m getting closer.”