Rob Elliot has backed Newcastle United goalkeeper Tim Krul to come back stronger from his season-ending injury.
Krul was ruled out for the rest of the campaign after rupturing his anterior cruciate knee ligament on Holland duty.
And Elliot – who started the season as the Magpies’ third-choice goalkeeper – will deputise between the posts, with Karl Darlow sidelined with an ankle problem.
Krul messaged Elliot before last weekend’s game against Norwich City, which Newcastle won 6-2 to climb above Sunderland in the Premier League ahead of the Wear-Tyne derby on Sunday.
“Tim sent me a great message, a really nice message,” said Elliot. “He’s just a top guy. I just wish him well. He was just sort of telling me to go out and do what I do.
“As I say, he’s just a top guy. He’s just obviously had devastating news, but he’ll handle it really well, he’s a strong-minded guy – he’ll come back fitter and stronger.
He’s a Dutch Geordie. He’ll be watching and he’ll be buzzing for the lads.Rob Elliot on injured Newcastle team-mate Tim Krul
“We’re all gutted for him, but he’ll still be a big part of the dressing room.”
Krul took to Twitter after the Norwich game to hail his team-mates, and especially Dutch countryman Georginio Wijnaldum, who scored four of United’s goals.
And Elliot, 29, says Krul will be kicking every ball from the sidelines this season.
“He’s a Dutch Geordie,” said Elliot, who signed a new long-term contract early last season. “He’ll be watching and he’ll be buzzing for the lads.
“Obviously, we’re all gutted for him, so it was nice to get a result for him as well because I think as much as he is one of the biggest players, much of what he does – he plays every week, week-in week-out.
“He hurt his finger before the last game, and he still played. He’ll always play for the club and be on that line, so I just hope he gets well as soon as possible.”
While disappointed for his friend and colleague, Elliot – who signed a new long-term contract at St James’s Park last year – knows he must take advantage of Krul’s misfortune.
“Obviously, we know Tim’s not going to play again this season,” said Elliot, who missed the second half of last season with a thigh injury.
“Then there’s obviously Karl, Freddie (Woodman) and myself, so I’ve just got to try and stake my claim and hopefully be the guy the manager wants to put in again every week.
“I’m just taking it one step at a time. I’m still technically in rehab, being back after 10 months and played an Under-21 game, and I’m just pleased to get through the (Norwich) game unscathed.
“The thigh feels good and we go again. The most important thing for me is making every opportunity count playing for a club like this.
“When you think you’re not going to play (for United) again and you then do, you just realise what a special thing it is.
“I am hoping to add to that against Sunderland too.”