TEENAGE prospect Jak Alnwick has set his sights on the Newcastle United No 1 jersey.
The youngster is starring for Gateshead, and helped them into the FA Cup second round at the weekend with a 2-0 win over rivals Blyth Spartans.
And the 18-year-old says his loan spell at the International Stadium is providing vital experience towards his long-term bid of challenging Tim Krul as the Magpies’ first-choice keeper.
“My ultimate aim is to be Newcastle’s No1, without a doubt,” Alnwick said.
“I’ve lived in Newcastle all my life, I’ve supported them, and that’s my aim, to play for my home club.
“I’ve come to Gateshead to get first-team experience but obviously I want to go back to Newcastle and get as close as I can to the first team.
“If that means having to go out on loan next season then so be it.
“Ultimately I need to push towards Newcastle’s first team and I think coming to Gateshead’s helped me a lot, because I’m under the eye of a lot of people playing men’s football.
“There are a lot of really good goalkeepers at Newcastle, which makes it tough, but in other ways it’s good because you have to push yourself to the full to make your presence felt.
“Hopefully if I can impress I can push in front of a couple, but I just have to be patient and wait and see.
“Football’s sometimes about luck and getting little breaks. Hopefully I can get some.
“For now though I’m really enjoying it at Gateshead, it’s really good. I’m getting games, that’s the main thing.”
Alnwick, whose brother is former Sunderland goalkeeper Ben, is on loan at Gateshead until January.
He started his spell on the bench, but recently usurped Paul Farman in the first team.
“The standard has really impressed me, I’ve been amazed by it,” he added.
“You come and people think the Blue Square Bet Premier is a part-time thing, but it’s nothing like that.
“You see some of the games and they’re unbelievable. When we played against York (City), it was an unbelievable standard and you do get that in this league.
“I came in and played a few reserve games, I’ve impressed enough to get into the first team and I definitely feel the experience has benefited me.
“Playing in any first team, whether it’s the standard below or above, just gives you that experience of playing against men and people who have played in the Football League.
“It gives you massive experience and confidence to take back to Newcastle.”