No player in Rafa Benitez’s squad has made more Premier League appearances for Newcastle United than Tim Krul.
And Benitez needs Premier League experience.
So why has the goalkeeper spent the past week training with the club’s development squad?
Benitez left three senior players behind on Monday when he took his team to Ireland for a training camp.
Krul – who has played 157 games in English football’s top flight – was one of them.
Emmanuel Riviere and Achraf Lazaar also stayed on Tyneside.
Speaking at the club’s training base at Carlton House, Co Kildare, earlier this week, United’s manager admitted that all three were “available” [to buy].
So too are a number of players that Benitez took to Ireland.
“We have to adjust (the squad),” said Benitez.
“Some will leave, some will stay.
We have to adjust (the squad). Some will leave, some will stay. But everyone (on the fringe) is available – if the price is rightRafa Benitez
“But everyone (on the fringe) is available – if the price is right.
“Hopefully, when we go back we will have offers for different players, but my the priority for me is football and maximising the time with the players.”
Benitez also admitted in Ireland that he wants another goalkeeper. And his quotes were telling.
“Hopefully, we can bring in a new goalkeeper and this competition will be good for the team,” he said.
“The main thing for Rob Elliot is to be fit, he is training hard after playing the final three games of last season.
“He’s a good goalkeeper, but I want him to compete.
“You can’t have players that think this is easy because they are the only one in that position.”
Benitez, it seems, wants another goalkeeper to challenge Elliot.
And Krul and Middlesbrough target Karl Darlow – who was outstanding during the club’s Championship-winning campaign – can go this summer.
That’s Benitez’s call, though some fans have questioned why he’s prioritising a goalkeeper when he has Elliot, Darlow, Krul and 20-year-old Freddie Woodman at the club.
Does Krul – who joined Newcastle 11 years ago as a teenager – deserve more respect for his long service?
“I’ve been at Newcastle for 11 seasons,” said Krul in May.
“It’s part of my life – a massive part of my life.”
Like Elliot, the 29-year-old ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament on international duty during the club’s relegation season.
After a long rehabilitation, he was loaned first to Ajax and then AZ Alkmaar in his native Holland.
Krul went on to play week in, week out for AZ in the second half of the campaign.
He’s fit, and should be fitter still with a full pre-season.
All the Holland international – who famously made his debut for the club away to Palermo almost 11 years ago – had been looking forward to getting a chance to impress Benitez, having been injured when the Spaniard took charge in March last year.
Benitez, however, can be ruthless.
And he’s pushing Krul – who has a year left on his contract – towards the exit door at St James’s Park.
It remains to be seen whether Krul – who has been a big character on and off the field at the club over the past decade – will play any football for United in pre-season.
But if Krul’s time at the club is up, then surely he should be able to walk out of the front door this summer with his head held high – and not bundled out of the back exit after a pre-season in the shadows.