Dan Burn lived out a childhood dream as he set Newcastle on the road to the Carabao Cup semi-finals.
The Blyth-born defender was released as an 11-year-old by the club he supported but returned as a £13million signing in January last year.
On Tuesday evening, he scored his first goal for the Magpies, the opener in a 2-0 quarter-final victory over Leicester at St James’ Park as they secured a place in the last four for the first time in 47 years to keep alive their chances of ending a wait for a major trophy which dates back to 1969.
Asked about his contribution to a famous night on Tyneside, the 30-year-old told NUFC TV: “It’s amazing. Growing up sitting in that East Stand, that’s what you dream of doing, scoring in front of the Gallowgate.
“My family all sit in that corner as well. I just ran out of room in the end, I had to knee-slide.
“It was amazing. I’m just happy that I didn’t cry on TV. I missed a sitter just before that, so I’m so happy to break that duck.
“The lads all take the mick out of me in training for not scoring, so I’m glad I’ve done that and no-one can ever take that away from me.”
A centre-half by trade – and a commanding one at 6ft 6ins – Burn is playing at left-back in Eddie Howe’s in-form Newcastle team, although his maiden goal was not scored with his head, but with a cultured swish of his right foot.
Howe admitted: “If you’re a betting man, there’s no way you’re ever putting money on Dan Burn’s right foot opening the scoring in any game.
“He missed a header that he’ll be disappointed, probably, not to score with, but the goal was actually a thing of beauty.”
Burn celebrated after the final whistle with a dressing room dance which has gone viral on social media, but not before chants of ‘He’s from Blyth, you’ll never, ever beat Dan Burn’ to the melody of Force and Styles’ Pretty Green Eyes had rung around St James’.
The former Darlington, Fulham and Brighton defender said: “Any player loves hearing their name being chanted and sung. I didn’t think it was going to catch on, but it’s quite catchy, to be fair.”
Burn’s 60th-minute strike was followed by a second from Joelinton 12 minutes later to ease Newcastle into their first semi-final in any competition since 2005, although with the club currently sitting in third place in the Premier League, that is where the immediate focus will lie.
Burn said: “We’ve not got to get distracted with it as well, we’ve got lots of important league games coming up and we’re still fighting to try to stay up there.”
Leicester will head into Saturday’s derby clash with Nottingham Forest with boss Brendan Rodgers admitting they will have to improve if they are to prosper.
Rodgers said: “Listen, we were beaten by the better team, so we’ve got no complaints. There was plenty of endeavour, plenty of spirit there.
“We move on to our next game and we’ll have to fight, we’ll have to play with more quality if we want to get something from that game.”