Andy Carroll is rewarded with the famous number 9 shirt

NEWCASTLE United striker Andy Carroll has been handed the famous number nine shirt ahead of the start of the 2010/11 Barcalys Premier League season.

The  21-year-old forward follows in the footsteps of some of the Club's most famous sons, including fellow Geordies Jackie Milburn and Alan Shearer. 

After receiving the news from United boss Chris Hughton, Carroll spoke of his pride and joy in being awarded the shirt for the new campaign.

The Gateshead born frontman, who bagged an impressive 19 goals in the Championship last season, said: "It hasn't really sunk in yet, I'm immensely proud and really it's an unbelievable feeling.

"When you look at the fantastic players down the years who have worn the shirt, it sends shivers down your spine, it's amazing.

"Having grown up following and watching the team I'm obviously aware of the great tradition the number nine shirt holds, it's probably unique in football in that sense and, as I say, to be wearing it, is incredible.

"Alan Shearer was my idol as a young lad and who would have thought I'd be following in his footsteps?

"It's every young Geordie lads' dream to be a Newcastle United number nine and I'm so lucky to be given that chance. It's an opportunity I relish and intend doing my upmost to do the shirt proud.

"I'd also like to thank Chris and his staff for the faith they have put in me."