Newcastle United 18-year-old set for surprise Carabao Cup final call-up v Manchester United

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The Newcastle United teenager is set to travel with the squad to Wembley for the Carabao Cup final.

It is scarcely believable that Newcastle United are heading into their first final in 24 years without their first and second-choice goalkeeper.

Allowing Karl Darlow to join Hull City on January deadline day, and knowing Martin Dubravka was cup-tied, it was always a possible scenario, yet one that didn’t feel plausible, especially just eight days before the Wembley date.

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But the unthinkable occurred with Nick Pope’s red card during the 2-0 defeat to Liverpool on Saturday evening propelling Loris Karius and Mark Gillespie into contention for the club’s biggest game in decades.

Karius is expected to start in what will be his first competitive appearance for United, and his first senior outing for two years. Similar to Gillespie, he last played two-and-a-half years ago.

Loris Karius could make his Newcastle United debut at Wembley (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)Loris Karius could make his Newcastle United debut at Wembley (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Loris Karius could make his Newcastle United debut at Wembley (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

“That’s exactly why you have a squad of goalkeepers and to have goalkeepers of Loris’ and Mark’s experience, where they’ve both played a lot of football in their careers, I have got no doubt of their match fitness because of the way that they train,” Howe said during Tuesday’s media day.

“I have had conversations with both players and they’re in a good place. We work with a lot of rhythm and structure, anyway, so our work won’t change. It’ll just have different personnel in it but the work itself is very consistent and I believe in that from a defensive perspective.

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“You have an idea of how you defend as a team and then, depending on personnel, you work the same way and this season, we’ve defended brilliantly. We go to work normally this week.”

With Karius and Gillespie promoted for the day, United require an additional warm-up goalkeeper, i.e third choice, at Wembley, and according to the Daily Mail, 18-year-old Max Thompson is set to be called upon.

Thompson, son of club kit man Ray, joined the Magpies’ academy aged 11 and signed his professional contract just over 12 months ago.

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The teenager, who is an England under-18s international, is highly-rated on Tyneside and has trained regularly with United’s senior crop of goalkeepers.

Newcastle United young goalkeeper Max Thompson. (Photo by Nick Taylor/Liverpool FC/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)Newcastle United young goalkeeper Max Thompson. (Photo by Nick Taylor/Liverpool FC/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)
Newcastle United young goalkeeper Max Thompson. (Photo by Nick Taylor/Liverpool FC/Liverpool FC via Getty Images) | Liverpool FC via Getty Images

“I’m buzzing,” said Thompson after signing his pro deal. It’s my dream to play for the club and this is a step closer to it, being able to sign that contract and knowing that you’re at that next level to try and push on.

“It’s been a good 16 months or so, since I came in as a first-year scholar. We had a good run in the FA Youth Cup, we’ve progressed to the next round this season as well, I’ve made my debut for England, then it’s been topped off with this contract.

“I hope in the future I can progress with Newcastle - that’s the main goal - and try to push towards that first team and eventually make my debut for Newcastle and play in the Premier League. Anything else that happens after that is a bonus.”

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