Newcastle United striker Adam Armstrong has dedicated his first start for the Magpies to his late grandfather.
The 17-year-old was handed his full debut for his boyhood club in Wednesday’s Capital One Cup tie against Crystal Palace, just 48 hours after attending the funeral of his granddad John Armstrong – a former professional with Darlington.
He would go on to record two assists on the night to help Alan Pardew’s side claim a 3-2 win at Selhurst Park in extra-time, with big things now expected from the England under-18 international going forward.
‘I just wish my grandad had been here to see it,’ he told NUFC.co.uk.
‘He was a professional footballer when he was younger, so would have been really proud of me making my full debut for Newcastle.
‘It was a really nice moment for me and the family after a tough week.
‘I've supported Newcastle since I was a little kid so this means everything. My dad has taken me to games as a fan and has also watched all my matches.
‘He was there [at Palace], and it was just amazing to pull on the shirt and play a part for the team, especially from the start.’
One of the club’s brightest prospects, Armstrong made his first-team debut for Newcastle as an 86th-minute substitute against Fulham last March, having impressed during the first-half of the 2013-14 campaign with the under-21s, before going on to make three more cameo appearances over the coming months.
With the club’s struggles so far this season well-documented, he could be in line for more top-flight minutes sooner rather than later, but the diminutive forward is remaining grounded for now.
‘Two assists wasn't bad, I guess,’ he said.
‘I was so pleased to get the chance to show the manager what I can do, and hopefully I did that.
‘I was a bit nervous as well before the game, but I just kept telling myself it was just another game and to bring what I do in the under-21s into the first team.
‘For it to go to extra-time was really hard on the lads but we came through in the end and it was a great victory.
‘It shows our spirit. Everyone here is together, working as one to get results and I'm delighted we managed to do it.
‘On a personal level, it's all about chipping in for the team and hopefully next time I will be able to get a few goals.’