By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter
It's back to where it all began for Tim Krul on Saturday as Newcastle take on ADO Den Haag in their latest pre-season friendly.
The Dutch goalkeeper, who will make an emotional return to his hometown, has been eagerly anticipating the fixture at the Kyocera Stadium since before the match was even officially announced - and now the time has come.
It's hard to imagine 6ft 4ins Krul as a small boy, struggling to fill his goal, but when he first started playing for his boyhood team that's exactly what he was. Now, 16 years later, he's Newcastle United's number one and a full Holland international.
And although there's no doubting the strides he has made on Tyneside since arriving in 2005, the now 24-year-old has never forgotten the role Den Haag played in his career.
"It's incredible for me," he told nufc.co.uk on the eve of the game, which kicks off at 5pm Dutch time. "I started when I was nine at Den Haag and played there until I was 17, and my family only live five minutes away from the stadium as well so it's a special place to go back to.
"And how nice is it to go back with this club? I've only played for two clubs and Den Haag is one of them so to go there with Newcastle is something special."
Born in The Hague, the capital city of the South Holland province, Krul grew up supporting his local top flight team and still looks out for them now.
"Of course, especially when I spent eight years there," he said. "Den Haag is a nice place to go and I'm really looking forward to it.
"For me as a goalkeeper, they gave me the base. Like I said, I was there for eight years so they gave me my youth and the opportunity to grow with school and all that. For me, it was an ideal place to grow up - and that's when I came here."
The match was formally arranged last month, but whispers had circulated for some time before that in The Hague that Newcastle might be coming to town and Krul will be watched by dozens of family and friends.
"I've had enough calls for tickets, so there will be a lot there," he smiled. "The rumours were there in Den Haag a couple of months ago but of course Newcastle had to confirm their own pre-season.
"But I was getting excited and people were ringing me and asking if the game was on. So I'm pleased it all got confirmed in the end and I'm looking forward to flying there tonight and playing tomorrow."
And although it'll be a special day for Krul on a personal level, it's also important to Alan Pardew and his team with the Barclays Premier League season getting ever closer.
"Yeah, two weeks tomorrow so we'll definitely take this game really seriously," he said. "There are two weeks to go and although we're stil in pre-season, we have to start looking towards the Tottenham game."