Tim Krul headed off on international duty last night full of confidence - and with his club manager endorsing him as the Netherlands No.1.
The Dutchman’s display earned Newcastle United an improbable 1-0 victory at White Hart Lane yesterday.
He made 14 saves, all after Loic Remy scored a 13th-minute goal on the counter-attack.
Fulham’s Maarten Stekelenburg is the Netherlands’ first-choice goalkeeper, but Krul’s display was an excellent advertisement to replace him at next summer’s World Cup finals.
When asked if it was the best goalkeeping performance he had ever seen, Alan Pardew replied: “Yeah one of them, wow.
“I think he’s the best goalie in Holland and I think he proved that.
“His performance level has not needed to be high this season - we’ve not come under that pressure this season too often but we did today.
“Certainly in the second half Tottenham turned up the heat and he answered almost everything. It was an unbelievable performance.”
Krul left the squad to join up with his national team for friendlies at home to Japan and Colombia during the international break.
Newcastle have consecutive home matches on his return, against Norwich City and West Bromwich Albion.
Pardew selected Krul’s first notable save, a stretching effort when Roberto Soldado flicked Christian Eriksen’s free-kick goalwards after half-an-hour, as his best.
There was another similar effort to keep out a Paulinho heading towards the top corner 12 minutes later.
The second half was almost one-way traffic, Krul denying Spurs with his hands and his feet.
He was helped by quick thinking from Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa – selected in preference to unused substitute Fabricio Coloccini – and by Jan Vertonghen’s header hitting the bar at an 84th-minute corner.
The win was Newcastle’s third away from home this season, more than they managed in the whole of last term.
It built on the previous week’s 2-0 win at Chelsea, where the result much better reflected the balance of play.
“This was a very different game to the Chelsea game,” Pardew (below) reflected. “I thought we were in control against Chelsea.
“We lost control a bit in the second half and Spurs pulled us around. We got a little bit deeper than I would have liked.
“In the first half I thought we were very, very good and deserved to have the lead.
“We capitalised on what we thought was a little weakness on their part and Remy scored again but second half AVB (Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas) made good moves and we really rode our luck as well as showing real spirit and character you need to have to get a 1-0 win somewhere as tough as this.”
Pardew again refused to take questions from The Journal and its sister paper the Chronicle.
When asked if that in any way “soured” the victory, Pardew turned the question around to dedicate the victory to the travelling fans.
The Chelsea win had, he said the previous week, been for owner Mike Ashley.
Pardew added: “I’m the manager of the football team and I’m just trying to get performances worthy of the fans.I think we have the greatest fans in the world.
“We’ve rewarded all those guys who have got up early. It’s a tough old day to get here and they supported us as they always do, brilliantly. It was just reward for them.”
Overwhelmed after the interval, Newcastle were dangerous on the counter-attack before it, but there was no question Tottenham deserved the win - only for Krul’s excellence to thwart them.
“It was difficult to take,” said Spurs boss Villas-Boas. “Krul was the key to the game, he made the difference. You have to give merit to the opponent. They had a brighter start that gave them the advantage.”
Tottenham’s goalkeeper Brad Friedel was the subject of the pre-match attention having been selected ahead of Hugo Lloris, who controversially played on after concussion in Tottenham’s last league game.