Dan Burn makes ‘European night’ admission as he reflects on start to Newcastle United career

Newcastle United’s pre-season clash in Benfica brought back memories of Champions League nights for Dan Burn.
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Dan Burn has recalled how Newcastle United’s pre-season clash in Benfica ‘felt like a European night’ - which gave him and his teammates ‘a taste of what could be’.

The Magpies played in front of 49,081 supporters at the Estadio da Luz in July as both clubs competed to win the Eusebio Cup.

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The encounter, although being a friendly, was played in a very competitive fashion, with Benfica edging out United 3-2 in a five-goal thriller.

In many ways, it was a replay of the 2013 Europa League quarter-final clash, where The Eagles defeated Alan Pardew’s side over two legs.

Coincidentally, the Portuguese giants were the last opposition Newcastle faced in a competitive European game after the state of the club worsened under Mike Ashley.

But with new owners - PIF, PCP Partners and RB Sports & Media - in place, Burn is among the players tasked with ending United’s European absence, whether that be possibly this season or next.

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And the Blyth-born, a boyhood Newcastle fan, admits the game in Benfica provided him with a reminder of the past - and a glimpse into the future.

‘It felt like a European night’

Burn said: “I think even in pre-season against Benfica going to the game on the team bus had that type of atmosphere. We had a police escort travelling to stadium - it was weird!

“We could hear all the Benfica fans at the stadium it felt like a European night for us. When I was a kid I watched Newcastle in the Champions League.

“It felt like that and at a point it’s where we want the club to back to. It was a taste of what could be.

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“Pre-season was really good for us and set us up well. Playing against a team like Benfica and going toe to toe with them, shows that, we had some good tests.”

Friday marks exactly 12 months since the takeover. The owners’ investment so far helped bring Burn back to Tyneside in January following his £15million switch from Brighton and Hove Albion.

The 30-year-old played a huge role in the Magpies’ successful battle against Premier League relegation.

Coming a long way since the takeover

“We have come a long way,” Burn said. “Since the takeover happened we have grown.

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“We have had trips away and they have really brought the lads together.

“It’s important because you can integrate new signings. The end of last season was so quick-paced because we were trying to pick up as many results as we could.

“We didn’t really get a chance to play the way we wanted to play but we are now seeing some good patterns.”

Burn, despite facing competition from £35million summer arrival Sven Botman, has started seven of United’s opening eight Premier League matches.

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“It could not have been any better (his start to life at Newcastle). I came in full of confidence because I’d been playing really well at Brighton at centre-back.

“I started well and when you are winning games you can kick on. I was really happy with the way I started my career at Newcastle.”

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