To watch Tim Krul throw himself about in training is to know that his shoulder, horribly dislocated during last season’s derby game, has completely mended.
But when talking to Newcastle United’s goalkeeper face to face, difficult to do for those of us under 6ft 4, it’s clear that something isn’t quite right in the Dutchman’s mind.
Being told you are over an injury is one thing. Believing that is something else entirely.
Krul, you may have noticed, is a fairly big lad.
When he gets down to save a low shot along the grass, he has further than most of us to travel.
That’s where the psychology comes in.
It’s no good being a goalkeeper if somewhere hiding in the back of your mind is the notion, albeit a miniscule one, that next time you get down to your left to save a shot, the shoulder will pop out again.
If Krul felt that, he wouldn’t get a game for this team. It’s the last step he has to get over before Alan Pardew can call upon him again, and he believes it is an obstacle he has just about negotiated.
This isn’t a major issue, however, Krul was as honest as he always is when asked to discuss where exactly he is on the comeback trail.
Krul said: “I am really happy. I am right on schedule, maybe even a little ahead of where I thought I’d be, to be honest with you, in terms of my recovery.
“The week we spent in Portugal could not have come at a better time. The training camp was good for me.
“I did four or five sessions a day – proper graft. The guys really put me through my paces and I’m really seeing the benefit of it.
“It’s not all about confidence now. I still need to strengthen my shoulder, of course, but the shoulder is fine and what I need to do is get it in my mind that it’s fine.
“There is still a bit to go in there (taps his head.) This is normal. Sometimes you have some little doubts, but that will come day by day.
“Keepers do get hurt, so that is where the slight caution comes in. We throw ourselves about quite a bit, you know, so that’s why I needed a bit more time to get my confidence back.”
The good news for Newcastle is that their first-choice goalkeeper is in good nick.
I watched him close up in Portugal, where he didn’t seem to stop working out on the training pitch.
He didn’t take part in any bounce games, but there was hardly a moment when he wasn’t diving either to his left or right at the side of the training pitch in Braga. Krul has certainly put in the hours to ensure he will be ready for the Premier League’s opening game at Manchester City.
He said: “My summer was strange because I had to do so much rehab. I was away and did have a break, but I worked as well.
“In some ways it was a good time to get an injury, if there is such a thing, because I had two months to rest, recover and I’m glad that it wont be long until I’m back on the pitch with the lads. So I am really happy.
“That’s what I worked on in Portugal. Now I have until Monday to get everything right.”
Krul has recently watched the incident, which happened during the Sunderland game on April 14. It didn’t make pleasant viewing.
It was, in many ways, an innocuous incident.
He went up for a ball, fell heavily on the turf and it was his rotten luck that the point of impact made his shoulder go one way when the rest of his body went another. Even now Krul shudders as he recalls it.
“He said: “Sheesh, it was agony. I have now watched what happened on tape and it was really, really bad at the time.
“I landed awkwardly and it popped out. I tried to somehow to move it back in place when I was lying on the pitch, but that wasn’t happening.
“I knew it was serious. The physio took one look at it and took me off the pitch right away.”
It’s been a long four months.
The thing about a dislocated shoulder is that time more than anything is the greatest healer. Krul knows this better than anyone because he suffered a similar injury in 2008 when out on loan with Falkirk.
It’s not as if Krul could take a couple of aspirin, spray on some Ralgex and be right as rain.
Only rest and patience is the cure.
The Dutch international is delighted to be all but back and in good health, which he insisted was the prognosis right across the first-team squad.
Krul said: “I am feeling good. Everyone is feeling good. That’s the most important thing.
“We were working hard and working well. I have been watching the lads in both the training matches and friendly games.
“I have already seen the benefits of what they have been doing.
“We are getting fitter by the day.”
And so, thankfully, is the team’s keeper.