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Dressing-room tribute to Newcastle’s super sub Jak Alnwick after Chelsea win

DEBUT ... Jak Alnwick.
DEBUT ... Jak Alnwick.

JAK Alnwick has revealed his reward for his heroics against Chelsea – a round of applause as he returned to the dressing room.

Third-choice goalkeeper Alnwick came off the bench Newcastle United’s 2-1 win over the Premier League leaders.

The 21-year-old replaced the injured Elliot at St James’s Park – and flattened Diego Costa when he came for a ball.

Hexham-born Alnwick also tipped a shot from Costa over the bar in a fraught finale as 10-man Newcastle – who had Steven Taylor sent off – held on to end Chelsea’s 23-game league and cup unbeaten run.

Alnwick was applauded by his team-mates when he returned to the dressing room.

“All the players waited for me in the changing room and gave me a round of applause – it was nice,” Alnwick told the Gazette.

“That’s what it’s all about. We’ve got a great team spirit, and that’s what gets us through games.

“The fans were amazing as well and got us through.”

Alnwick – who started his career at Sunderland – says he was more excited than nervous as he waited to come on for the second half.

“I was obviously nervous, but I’ve been ready for this situation my whole life really,” said Alnwick, whose elder brother Ben played for Sunderland and Tottenham Hotspur.

“I’ve worked hard towards it, and I was excited more than anything.

“I just wanted to get started. I’m quite confident anyway. I’ve got Woody (goalkeeping coach Andy Woodman) in the dressing room, and he calmed me down. I was ready for it.

“To play in front of 52,000 fans against Chelsea was amazing.

“It’s a dream to play for your home club. I’ve supported Newcastle my whole life.”

Alnwick – who had a spell on loan at Gateshead earlier in his career – was kept busy by Chelsea.

“As a goalkeeper, you like to keep in the game, but they put a couple of difficult balls in the box,” he said. “You always know you’re going to be busy against teams like Chelsea.

“Getting a first touch with a good punch gave me confidence.

“It was a massive team effort. Chelsea came here and were unbeaten.

“We had to stick together for 96 minutes. The six minutes of added time were tough, especially as we’d gone down to 10 men.

“We know that we’ve got a great team here. There’s a lot of heart at the club.

“When you see people throwing themselves into tackles and the fans getting behind them, it gives you massive confidence.”

Asked what United manager Alan Pardew had said to him before he went on, Alnwick added: “He just said ‘do what you normally do’. He said he was confident in me. That helped me a lot.”

Meanwhile, Pardew revealed after the game that Alnwick – who is out of contract in the summer – had been to see him before No1 goalkeeper Tim Krul suffered an injury.

Pardew said: “Jak came to see me and said that he was really disappointed in my management of him, that the club had let him down because we hadn’t loaned him out.

“But we couldn’t because he was our third-choice, so we couldn’t put ourselves at risk.

“His contract was up at the end of the year, and he felt he hadn’t really been given an opportunity. He’s been proven right, so fair play to him.”