Tim Krul’s determined to be back fit for the start of next season.
The Newcastle United goalkeeper ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament of his right knee playing for Holland in October.
And Krul’s making steady progress in his painstaking nine-month rehabilitation at the club’s training ground.
The 27-year-old – who is walking and driving again – is slowly building up his strength in the gym.
“I think the time I’m out is going to be at least nine months,” said Krul, the club’s No 1 goalkeeper.
“It’s hard to accept such an injury. You have to take it on the chin and come out stronger.
I think the time I’m out is going to be at least nine months. It’s hard to accept such an injury. You have to take it on the chin and come out stronger.Tim Krul
“The first six or seven weeks, you don’t do anything, so your muscles just disappear.
“That’s what I’m doing at the moment – strengthening to be able to cope with the impact again.”
Krul suffered the injury when he fell awkwardly late in a Euro 2016 qualifier away to Kazakhstan.
And he quickly “feared the worst”.
“I came for a cross and landed wrong,” said Krul in a YouTube video produced by 90/24 Sports. “I felt a massive click in the knee.”
“When the doctor mentioned an ACL injury, you straight away fear the worst. It’s a long, bad injury.
“I’m just focusing on the start of next season and to be there and back playing.
“I have to make sure the knee is right and try to be back as quick as possible, but you can’t take any risks.
“The first three months are over now. I’m feeling good and walking.
“Things are looking more bright.”
Rob Elliot has been outstanding between the posts in Krul’s absence.
Meanwhile, Peter Beardsley, Newcastle’s football development manager, has praised the “grit and determination” his young side showed in Monday night’s 3-1 defeat to Derby County at Whitley Park.
“They weren’t brilliant goals – they were bad mistakes,” said Beardsley.
“But having made two mistakes for the opening goals, the lads lifted their heads and had a real go.
“We learned a lot about their character. When you go 2-0 down in seven minutes you fear the worst because it was such a young side.
“It could have gone horribly wrong, but they showed great grit and determination to keep going and make a real game of it.
“The lads gave us everything they’ve got and that’s all you can ask for..
“We had a lot of young kids, who aren’t experienced at this level, who we had to throw in to the team.
“We did a lot of good things, but Derby were physically and mentally too strong for us and had a bit too much experience.”