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Alan Pardew keeping goalkeeping options open

ALAN Pardew has moved to clarify Newcastle United’s goalkeeping situation, insisting he has not yet decided who will start next season as his number one.

Alan Pardew
Alan Pardew

ALAN Pardew has moved to clarify Newcastle United’s goalkeeping situation, insisting he has not yet decided who will start next season as his number one.

The Magpies manager has long maintained that one of his main jobs when the players return on July 4 will be assessing the progress of Steve Harper, Tim Krul and Fraser Forster.

One will start the season as first choice, another will be loaned out or sold, and the third will remain as back-up.

Krul muddied the waters when he was quoted in the Dutch Press last week as having been told by Pardew he would start the campaign as number one. Pardew has been at great pains to stress that is not the case.

“I want to underline that I’ve not made any decision about the goalkeepers for next season, other than that I want to see them all in pre-season,” he said.

“The things that have been reported in Holland are not true. Tim will come back with Fraser and Steve to battle it out.”

Forster has enjoyed two successful seasons out on loan. In 2009-10 he was part of the Norwich City team which won League One, and in the season just ended had a Scottish Cup medal to add to his collection.

The Hexham-born goalkeeper also helped set a new record as Celtic kept 23 clean sheets in the Scottish Premier League, featuring in goal in all but two of those games.

Krul is hoping to make his Holland debut this week, after being called into a 23-man squad for friendlies in Uruguay and Brazil.

It means neither man is likely to be happy settling for this summer’s short straw – being Newcastle’s second choice in the coming campaign. Both have done little to hide their ambition.

They are intent on becoming Harper’s long-term successor, but not so much so that they will harm their careers by staying on Tyneside longer than is healthy for them.

Having waited so long to finally become Newcastle’s first choice himself, Harper will be in no mood to relinquish the job.

He has been counselling his young understudies to display the patience he showed when backing up Shay Given, seemingly impervious to injury until his latter days at the club.

Harper’s injuries this season have allowed Krul to make 25 appearances which will only have whetted his appetite.

The ex-Den Haag keeper particularly impressed in wins over Arsenal and Manchester United.

Joey Barton has laughed off the latest rumours of his departure.

Last week the midfielder insisted, via friends, he had no intention of leaving Newcastle before his contract expires next summer.

It did not discourage newspaper stories of a £4m move to Everton.

His response was to tweet: “Finished playing golf, 72 not bad. Came in to questions about joining Everton??? I don’t want to leave Newcastle but thanks anyways...”

On the subject of a new contract at Newcastle, he added: “I can’t sign a contract if am not offered one?

“I will tell all when the time is right, basically they want a younger, better, cheaper player ... can’t blame (owner Mike Ashley) and (managing director Derek Llambias) can you?” he said.

“They don’t want to spend any money or pay any wages.”

Meanwhile, reports in France suggest Newcastle have made a second bid for Toulouse’s Cheikh M’Bengue, raising more question marks about José Enrique’s future.

Pardew is hoping to speak to the Spaniard’s representatives early this week about extending the contract due to run out next summer with what the manager says will be a “fantastic offer” – expected to be a five-year deal.

But their pursuit of left-back M’Bengue suggests they are not optimistic about persuading him to stay.

 

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