TIM Krul paid tribute to mentor Shay Given after coming out on top in their head to head at St James’s Park.
Krul was outstanding in Newcastle United’s 2-1 win over Aston Villa on Sunday.
The 23-year-old – who credits Given as being a huge influence on his career – pulled off a string of saves at St James’s Park.
However, Given, making his first return to the stadium since leaving the club, was helpless for debutant Papiss Demba Cisse’s winner.
The two goalkeepers embraced after the final whistle.
“Shay’s one of my heroes,” Krul told the Gazette. “(Edwin) Van der Sar has always been my hero, but Shay isn’t far behind.
“He looked after me when I arrived at the club, and it was nice to see him after the game.
“He’s a legend, for me. He’s fantastic. He had a good reception, and it was nice to talk away with the three points.”
The result, which followed a midweek win at Blackburn Rovers, lifted Newcastle back into fifth place in the Premier League.
And Krul said: “It was a huge week. These are the games you have to win. Maybe last year we’d have drawn these games.
“We’ve got the extra quality now on the pitch, and we can grind out results on the pitch. It’s amazing.
“We’ve done it all season. The character from the team has been amazing. Headers, clearances and fantastic goals from the two boys up front.
“What a way for our No9 (Cisse) to show himself in his first game! He did the shirt justice with that goal.
“We were a solid team again – we had to help each other out.
“We made some good blocks, especially the one from (Darren) Bent in the first half.
“The shot from (Stiliyan) Petrov was swerving all over the shop, so I was glad to keep it out. Overall, what a fantastic performance.”
Third-placed Spurs are next up for United, and Krul added: “Games can’t come quick enough, because we’re in such good spirit.”