Rob Elliot says he is having the time of his life.
The Newcastle keeper - who will be between the sticks against Everton in today’s late kick-off - has stepped into the boots of the injured Tim Krul and hes helped inspire a recent boost in form.
All I have ever asked for and all I have wanted is a run in the team - an honest chance.
He also enjoys a good relationship with Toon fans - so he ends the year ona major high.
Asked is this is the most enjoyable period of his career, he said: “Yeah, it is definitely right up there.
“All I have ever asked for and all I have wanted is a run in the team - an honest chance.
“Unfortunately it happened because Tim (Krul) got injured and that gave me the chance to play not just one or two games when you get chucked in which is so tough, but a chance to play nine, ten 11 on the bounce, a whole season hopefully.
“Then there is that opportunity to really show your worth. I have worked hard in training - I always train well - but obviously, now I have that chance to prove myself in games which is where it really matters.”
The keeper says he is enjoying his relationship with the fans, and hoping to cement it with more displays.
“Do you know what, I have always been lucky,” he said.
“I seem to have been well liked by the fans but in the past maybe more as a person than as a player! But now it’s both.
“I do seem to have a bit of a rapport with the fans and it’s great. They have been magnificent with me, with us.
“Even that Norwich game when I played, they got right behind me knowing it was my first game for a long time and happily the relationship continued and even flourished.
“As a kid, I was a massive Charlton fan and knew how much it meant, travelling away all the time – so it is important to show your appreciation all the time and obviously, it is lovely I am now getting a great reception before and after games.”
It’s quite a turnaround for Elliot, who was something of a forgotton man at the start of the season.
“I probably thought my career was over here (in the summer),” he said.
“Not in a bad way. It’s just that I was not playing, I was down the pecking order with little prospect of breaking in. That was the situation but it’s just football. Nothing bad.
“I love the people here, they’ve always been great. And I have got to say the manager has been fantastic. I have so much respect for him because of how he was with me when I was not in the team, not when I’m playing.
“Looking back, it did look as if I was going to leave Newcastle but thank God I didn’t. This is all I have ever wanted. To stay here, to play.
“I would stay here for the rest of my career if I could. I always wanted to stay long term and play regular first team football.
“I always felt I was good enough to do that but it is just about getting that opportunity and actually proving that.
“Of course, I do not think I am anywhere near that just yet after nine or ten games. You need to be playing years, like Tim has done.
“But it has been a really good turnaround. It feels refreshing, almost re-energising. To go from being not involved to playing every week has been a great experience.”