Under the radar summer signing ‘thrown into the deep end’ at Newcastle United after injury blow
Under-21s goalkeeper Jude Smith has reflected on his start to life at Newcastle United.
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The 19-year-old joined the Magpies last month from the Scottish League Two side, where he was one of the youngest senior goalkeepers in British football last season.
Smith made 28 appearances in all competitions, winning the East Fife Supporters’ Club young player and players’ player of the year, and the East Fife Supporters’ Trust player of the year.
The former Celtic youngster went on trial at Stoke City and Newcastle this summer, with academy bosses on Tyneside impressed by what they saw from Smith.
The Magpies paid an undisclosed fee for Smith to link up with Elliott Dickman’s under-21s.
Smith wasn’t expecting to go straight into Dickman’s starting XI, however an injury to England under-18s goalkeeper Max Thompson soon changed that.
He’ll compete with Thompson and Will Brown to retain the No.1 jersey in United’s second string.
‘I was thrown into the deep end, if you like’
“I’m thoroughly enjoying my time at Newcastle,” Smith said. “I knew there’d be an opportunity to play but I was thrown into the deep end, if you like, after Thommo (Max Thompson) picked up an injury. It’s been good, healthy competition in fighting for that goalkeeping spot.
“That’s what you need as a goalkeeper because if you don’t have anyone pushing you or feeling you have a safe position in the team, you won’t be applying yourself as much as you can.”
When joining in August, Smith said: “I’m buzzing to be signing for Newcastle United.
“After playing in the lower leagues of Scotland, I couldn’t be happier with the opportunity to go and play for a club like Newcastle.
“I was playing part-time at East Fife last season so it’s a great opportunity to be full-time with Newcastle. It’s an unbelievable chance for me to go and develop my career further so it was a no-brainer for me to join.
“Playing for East Fife’s first-team was good experience, especially at a young age, and playing mens’ football did me the world of good. I just want to be playing week in week out, especially as a goalkeeper.
“It’s the next chapter in my life which I’m looking forward to and really hope to kick on.”