Playing in the Champions League is often the highlight of many players’ careers and for Dan Burn, it will mean a hell of a lot.
It has not been an easy pathway to the top for the mammoth defender, who stands at 6ft 6in.
Having started out at Newcastle, he was released at the age of 11 while he continued his football dream with spells at local clubs Blyth Spartans, Blyth Town and New Hartley.
At the age of 16, Burn might have been forgiven for giving up as he pushed trolleys around Asda to make some pocket money.
But luck would strike when a scout saw the defender playing and gave him a shot, something he grabbed with both hands.
While playing for Brighton in 2019, Burn told Sussex World: “Normally the lads who are getting picked up to play in the youth teams are getting picked up around 15, 16. I didn’t end up signing for anyone.
“I went to sixth form and went and did a little bit of work. I was working at Asda pushing trolleys.
“If you had said then that I would be in the Premier League, I would have laughed at you.
“It was a little bit more of a different route for me but it helped me become even more determined and focused.
“When I went to Fulham, a lot of the stuff the lads were given, I wasn’t given at Darlington. I was washing my own kit and bringing in my own packed lunches. So I do think it’s helped me.”
Among the first raft of signings made by manager Eddie Howe at Newcastle included Burn – 19 years after he was released as a youngster.
After stints at Darlington, Fulham and Wigan, Burn was going back up north, the very north.
He signed in January 2022 from Brighton in a dream move for £13million and instantly became a fan favourite and a staple of the first-team.
And despite the arrival of Sven Botman in the summer, Burn continued to be Howe’s main man – playing all 38 games in the Premier League last season.
It turned out to be a masterstroke as Newcastle finished fourth in the league, securing Champions League football in the process.
It is the first time in 20 years that the Magpies have played in the tournament, nearly around the same time Burn would have been at the club before he was even a teenager.
Now he is one of the leaders in a group of internationals, taking on European heavyweights in what has already been dubbed the Group of Death.
Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan and Borussia Dortmund make up the rest of Group F, in what must be the most vociferous fans of the competition along with Newcastle.
But none of them will fancy a visit to St. James’ Park, where the decibel levels will likely be reaching that of a jumbo jet taking off.
Nevertheless, for one former Asda worker, it will be a dream come true.
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Source From: Football News, Transfers, Opinion – talkSPORT