Newcastle’s Jak Alnwick must take ‘huge opportunities’ given to him, says Pavel Srnicek

Jak Alnwick made his professional debut for Newcastle United in their 2-1 victory over Chelsea.

Alnwick entered the pitch at half-time, coming on as a substitute for second-choice ‘keeper Rob Elliot.

Elliot was named in the starting XI with the absence of Tim Krul through injury, and the Dutchman is expected to be out until the New Year. Elliot is set to undergo a scan this week to determine the extent of his injury - a reoccurrence of a troubling thigh injury - leaving 21-year-old Alnwick as the most experienced stopper in the Magpies’ ranks.

There have been talks about the potential arrival of an emergency loan stopper, but, with few targets available on the market, Alnwick could be set to start his first ever professional fixture next Saturday, as the Magpies face Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium. The youngster could also turn out at Tottenham Hotspur in the League Cup Quarter-Final next week, with Manchester United and Everton to follow in the last week of December. The former Sunderland youth product could also be facing his boyhood team just before Christmas, with the Tyne-Wear Derby scheduled for December 21.

Should Alnwick be Alan Pardew’s first-choice ‘keeper for the intense run of fixtures over the festive period, it will be a baptism of fire, and former Toon goalkeeper Pavel Srnicek believes that he must take the opportunity presented to him, although it is a different situation to playing just 45 minutes - even if it was against the previously undefeated Premier League leaders.

Writing in the Chronicle, Srnicek - who made over 150 appearances for the Magpies - said: “For Newcastle now, they have a big run of games and they will be playing a young goalkeeper in Alnwick who has a massive opportunity to prove that he is a United player not just in name.

“He looked confident and brave against Chelsea and I don’t want to sound negative, but it is a different thing to do it week in, week out – as Tim [Krul] found out when he came into the team. He showed what great potential he had in 45 minutes, but next week, he goes to the Emirates and the week after he’ll be in a League Cup game. Those are huge opportunities for him.”

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