Krul: Youngsters must seize chance
Newcastle keeper Tim Krul is urging his young team-mates to make the most of their Europa League chances as they attempt to force their way into Alan Pardew's plans.
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The Dutchman made his senior debut for the Magpies as an 18-year-old in a 1-0 UEFA Cup victory over Palermo in Sicily in November 2006, and has since gone on to establish himself as number one for the club and a regular in the Holland squad.
It has been a long road to the top, but Krul believes the experience he gained that night and beyond helped to lay the foundations of his career, and is hoping the current crop of emerging stars at St James' Park can do the same as they prepare to face Club Brugge in Belgium on Thursday night.
He said: "It is all about opportunities. I used to love the cup games because that used to be my opportunity, and it's the same thing for the other young lads now coming through.
"For the young lads coming through, it's a chance to show themselves.
"It been six years now, so it's been a long time. It's a long journey, a lot of things have happened since.
"Of course, I am really pleased with how it has been because I am the number one of Newcastle United now and that was the aim at the start of that.
"I was 18 at the time, so I was still young then, but it was a great night for me, my first ever professional game.
"But there was a long way to go and to be honest, I injured myself three days later - I did my knee - so I saw the highs and the lows in a short period at the time."
Twenty-year-old Sammy Ameobi will start the game at the Jan Breydel Stadion for the first time alongside older brother Shola, 31, while there could be further opportunities for Shane Ferguson and Gael Bigirimana.
Pardew has made wholesale changes for his side's previous European encounters as he attempts to manage the demands of a cluttered fixture list, but insists he is not fielding a weakened side.
Asked about the young players, he said: "Every game, you grow as a person or a professional footballer, every professional game you play, you are always learning, trust me.
"Every game is massive for them, they have to grab it, and there are one or two tomorrow who will get an opportunity who haven't shone this year, and they need to because there is real competition for the bench now.
"I look round at that bench and in all honesty, there's not a lot of difference between the bench and the team that's starting, so it's a great position for me.
"It's a lot stronger than when I arrived, in my opinion, and that's the strength of what we have now. We have a really good group of players and nice options for me to change it."
Skipper Fabricio Coloccini and midfielder Cheick Tiote, who are both suspended for Sunday's Barclays Premier League clash with West Ham, will also start.