I'm here to push Krul - Elliot
Newcastle goalkeeper Rob Elliot has warned Tim Krul he is gunning for his place as he attempts to force his way onto the international stage.
The 27-year-old is currently understudy to the Dutchman at St James' Park, but was handed a chance to impress by manager Alan Pardew during the second half of last season when first an ankle injury and then a dislocated shoulder forced Krul onto the sidelines.
However, the Holland international is now back in harness, leaving Elliot fighting for a place once again, and it is a battle for which he is fully prepared.
The former Charlton keeper said: "Tim is a top keeper and he is the number one, but I am not here just to sit on the bench. I am here to push him.
"That's what I did all pre-season and I was disappointed, to be honest with you, not to start the season.
"I had a chat with the gaffer and he said, 'Tim is the number one, so you have to accept that'.
"But I just said I want to keep training, keep working hard and prove that I can hopefully get into the team.
"Obviously, Tim has been fantastic, as he usually is. All I can do is back it up when I get a chance to play and keep doing well in training."
Despite the competition between them, Elliot and Krul are close friends, although that will not prevent either from doing all they can to get the better of the other.
Elliot, who started the 2-0 Capital One Cup victory at Morecambe last month, said: "Obviously, I want the club to do well and whoever plays - if it's Tim, which is more than likely - then I want him to do well.
"But I want to make sure that he knows (I am here) to keep him on his toes and keep him honest.
"We are good mates anyway, so there's nothing nasty there. Tim knows I work hard and I want to get in the team, and he knows he has got to keep me out.
"As long as we are both putting in performances like we have been doing recently, that's all we can do."
Elliot has an added incentive to force his way ahead of Krul in the pecking order as he attempts to fulfil his ambition of playing senior international football for the Republic of Ireland.
He has to date been overlooked by current manager Giovanni Trapattoni, whose reign looks to be drawing to a close in the wake of Tuesday night's 1-0 qualifying defeat in Austria, although his lack of first-team football will not have helped.
Greenwich-born Elliot, whose father's family is from Cork, said: "I would love to eventually get a call-up one day.
"I played a lot at youth level. I have been slightly disappointed not to get a call-up.
"But the thing is, they have got three top keepers - and one of them is my best friend in football, Darren Randolph - so I can't really complain.
"It's more of a privilege to get an international call-up, you can't demand it, so I just have to keep playing well and hopefully I get noticed.
"We have always been cricket England and football Ireland in my family, believe it or not, so it would be fantastic to get an opportunity. But I will just have to see how it goes."