Newcastle are in safe hands with Jak Alnwick

Newcastle reserve keeper Jak Alnwick in action against Chelsea. Picture by FRANK REID
Newcastle reserve keeper Jak Alnwick in action against Chelsea. Picture by FRANK REID

ROB Elliot says Newcastle United are in safe hands with Jak Alnwick between the posts.

The 21-year-old will be in goal for tomorrow’s Premier League game against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.

Alnwick came off the bench against Chelsea last weekend when Elliot suffered a thigh injury.

And United manager Alan Pardew, already without first-choice goalkeeper Tim Krul, doesn’t expect Elliot to be fit until the New Year.

Alnwick – whose only previous experience of competitive senior football had come during a loan spell at Gateshead three years ago – will deputise in their absence.

Elliot, having worked alongside Alnwick for the past three years, feels the Hexham-born player is up to the challenge.

“I can’t explain how hard Jak’s worked,” Elliot told the Gazette.

“He’s had a lot of setbacks as well. He’s taken all of them really well, and worked even harder.

“It proved he’s mentally a strong character. He’s a fantastic lad, and all the keepers are really proud of him.

“We’re glad to see what he did in the second half – he showed what he can do.

“There’s a lot to come from him once he gets more confidence.

“Hopefully, he can show what he’s all about.”

Alnwick’s performance impressed Pardew, who felt he kept his composure on the field.

“I don’t think we could have been prepared for how cool he was,” said Pardew.

“He’s definitely winning the cool award at the Christmas party, because he just took it in his stride. I have to pay a massive tribute to him for that.

Alnwick is out of contract at St James’s Park next summer.

And before his dramatic debut against Jose Mourinho’s previously-unbeaten Chelsea, his future seemingly lay away from Newcastle.

United signed Karl Darlow from Nottingham Forest in the summer – the 24-year-old was loaned back to the Championship club – while Freddie Woodman, 17, is highly rated at the club.