Newcastle debut the ‘stuff of dreams’ for boyhood Magpies fan Dan Burn

Newcastle United v Aston Villa – Premier League – St. James’ Park
(Image credit: Owen Humphreys)

Dan Burn enjoyed a dream debut on his return to the club he supported as a boy as Newcastle further eased their relegation fears with a third successive Premier League victory.

Blyth-born Burn, who was released by the Magpies as an 11-year-old, was handed his first appearance since completing his £13million switch from Brighton in Sunday’s clash with Aston Villa at St James’ Park, and turned in an accomplished individual display in a hard-fought 1-0 win.

On the final whistle, the defender celebrated in front of a Gallowgate End packed with jubilant Newcastle fans, and his mind went back to the days when he was one of them.

Newcastle's Dan Burn (left) enjoyed the win over Villa

Newcastle’s Dan Burn (left) enjoyed the win over Villa (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Asked if the experience was as he dreamed it would be, 29-year-old Burn told NUFC TV: “Yes, pretty much, and more. One-nil, clean sheet and a good performance, so I’m just buzzing.

“It was amazing. It’s stuff you dream of when you’re a kid when you come here and you’re watching them run around on the pitch, [Alan] Shearer and Rob Lee and all those lot, and then you come and do it yourself.

“I don’t think it’s probably quite sunk in yet.”

The Magpies had not won three league games on the trot since November 2018 ahead of kick-off and although they ran out in confident mood after beating Leeds and Everton in their last two, they had to fight all the way to the whistle against Villa to end that wait.

Fellow January arrival Kieran Trippier was the hero as his second goal in six days, a sweet 35th-minute free-kick after referee Craig Pawson had been advised by VAR to re-think his decision to award a penalty, clinched the points.

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United will have to cope without Trippier for their upcoming fixtures, though, confirming on Monday he had suffered a fractured bone in his foot.

Burn said before the diagnosis: “Tripps is a different level of quality that we probably haven’t had here for a long time. He’s won LaLiga, he’s a regular England international and he shows it, and the lads feed off him.”

However, Trippier’s 48th-minute departure with a foot injury with fellow full-back Javier Manquillo already having limped off, coupled with a second-half fightback from the visitors, left Eddie Howe’s men clinging on for dear life.

If they had been disappointed by a VAR intervention immediately before Trippier’s goal, Newcastle were grateful for another after Ollie Watkins had headed home what he thought was a 61st-minute equaliser, but crucially from a marginally offside position as the Magpies edged their way across the finishing line to leave themselves four points clear of the drop zone.

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Burn said: “We’ve set a standard now of the bare minimum that we expect from each other and if we can keep to those levels for the majority of the season, we’ll pick up a lot more wins.”

If Howe was able to celebrate, opposite number Steven Gerrard was disappointed with what he saw.

The Villa boss said: “It was a really bad day for us. I was surprised at the performance that we gave. There were no signs of that, certainly, in the preparation, but collectively, we need to improve. We’ve got a lot of work to do.

“We didn’t deserve anything out of the game by the level of performance we gave, so it’s clear that we have a lot of work to do and there some changes to be made in the team as well.”

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