Hear me out, because what I’m about to say is going to sound pretty drastic – but when Tim Krul returns, it may be the best choice to keep Michael McGovern in goal, temporarily.
While we’re all well aware of the quality and leadership the Dutchman possesses, something Daniel Farke should consider is the message it sends if Krul is allowed to waltz back into the starting eleven.
Josh Martin kept Todd Cantwell out of the team with impressive displays, young Oliver Skipp has kept City legend Alex Tettey to a largely supporting role, and it was a similar situation when a certain Teemu Pukki managed to start ahead of experienced Championship striker Jordan Rhodes – and that ended up going pretty well.
Farke isn’t afraid to reward good performances with starts, and he doesn’t mind leaving star players out.
Should McGovern be left out of the team come Krul’s return (likely on Boxing Day against Watford, but possibly later), he’ll be left wondering why the same rule doesn’t apply to goalkeepers.
The Irishman has proved reliable in the eight games in which he’s been trusted, impressing more and more with every match and making vital stops in each of the last three. He’s a well-liked character in the dressing room and will no doubt be thriving on the game time he’s being given.
Some have stated that the solid performances of Jacob Sorensen justify the keeping of his place in the team even when Xavi Quintilla returns to match fitness, an opinion that is not far-fetched or controversial in the slightest. McGovern does, at least, play in the same position as Krul.
I’m not calling for the permanent ousting of Krul or induction of McGovern into the hall of fame, but the number one could do with being reminded of the quality he’s in competition with. This approach has worked before, with 2019’s signing of Ralf Fahrmann – a failure on the surface but resulting in the greatest form of Krul’s Norwich City career.
It’s no coincidence that the arrival of an experienced Champions League goalkeeper came at the same time as the steep incline of the form of the previous first choice.
All it would take would be one or two appearances for the second-choice stopper, and an opportunity for him to increase his status in an impressive playing squad. Krul will have been watching the recent games, will be aware of McGovern’s good form, and it could be that this polite reminder is enough to keep the Dutchman honest.
While he has certainly experienced less glitz and glamour than Schalke’s German stopper, McGovern is an international goalkeeper and has racked up hundreds of appearances in the Scottish league as well as keeping for Northern Ireland at Euro 2016 and having been on the books at Celtic at the start of his career.
This is in no way a criticism of Mr. Krul, and I have as much love for him as any Norwich fan. He has been excellent for City so far this season, and would certainly have been in the top three for player of the season, had the vote closed after fourteen games.
What I’m simply suggesting is that if he can find another level, as he did in that fateful Premier League season, the title may be won in even more fashionable style than we’re currently expecting.
I must admit I was firmly anti-McGovern until very recently; I was nervous every time the ball was passed back to him during the Coventry draw and went on record on the PinkUn podcast saying I’d rather Krul was in the team “as soon as he can run”.
The fact that City’s no. 33 has managed to change even my stubborn mind is the reason I’m so confident in making these bold claims.
It’ll certainly be a shock if he does make it into the team on Boxing Day, but hopefully I’ve provided you with some evidence for why it may be more of a Christmas miracle than an unwanted gift.