Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Alnwick Reveals Striking Past

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Alnwick Reveals Striking Past

Article excerpt

Byline: By Luke Edwards

Ben Alnwick revealed last night how he was furious when he was first asked to play in goal as a youngster because he had spent most of his childhood dreaming of becoming a striker.

Alnwick's rapid development at Sunderland has stunned many observers with the 18-year-old becoming the youngest goalkeeper to play in the Premiership this season when he was given his top-flight debut against Arsenal last weekend.

It is a remarkable achievement for the teenager, who only made his first-team debut at the end of last season and who spent much of the summer fearing he would get nowhere near the first team following the pounds 1.25m capture of Kelvin Davis.

But, with Davis struggling for form and the target for supporter anger, Alnwick has unexpectedly been thrown into action by manager Mick McCarthy.

"The gaffer has said since I was 16 that he has confidence in me making the first team," said the England Under-19 stopper.

"I realise that I'm one of the only local lads to have broken into the first team recent seasons and I want to do well. It gives me great confidence to think I'm playing in the Premier League at 18 years old.

"It's funny, because I was always a striker when I was at junior school. But I was the fat kid and they put me in goal for Prudhoe Youth Club.

"I wasn't happy about it at first, in fact I was pretty angry about it. I was always swapping outfield and in goal, but after 12, I was always in goal and that's how I got scouted. I'm obviously grateful for that decision now." Alnwick made an eye-catching start to his first-team career with three impressive displays during last season's thrilling finale.

Indeed, had the young goalkeeper not made one outstanding save during the 2-1 win over Leicester City which secured promotion, the Black Cats may never have come up as champions. …

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