Adam Campbell

By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter

On Friday morning, Newcastle United's under-18 squad will climb aboard a coach and embark upon the gruelling 700-mile round trip to Southampton for a Bank Holiday weekend Academy match. Adam Campbell could well have been with them; instead, a few hours earlier he made his first-team debut against Atromitos and in doing so became the youngest player to represent the club in European competition.

The North Shields-born forward is still a second year scholar at Little Benton and was a regular at under-18 level last term. But on Thursday night, he came from the bench in Athens at the age of 17 years and 236 days to eclipse Andy Carroll, who was 17 years and 300 days when he featured against Palermo in 2006.

Certainly preferable to that long road trip to the South Coast of England, then.

"It's not a trip many people fancy, all the way down there on the bus!", Campbell laughed as he spoke exclusively to nufc.co.uk in his hotel room after writing his name into the history books of the club he has supported for the whole of his young life.

"It's crazy, really, to think about it. You think about playing for Newcastle and you don't really think about what kind of games you're going to be playing in.

"When you're young, you just think Premiership games at St. James' but when it comes to the reality of it and you're actually out there - it's not just for myself, getting a personal thing, but for Newcastle as a club being back in Europe it was a big thing for them, a big thing for us and to be a part of it and to have my own little record as well as that is just great to have.

"It's brilliant. I can't really put into words how much it means to me. Just for Newcastle to be in Europe means a lot, then to be involved means a lot, and then to actually have my own record... you can't describe it. It's amazing."

Campbell was told on Tuesday that he would be part of Alan Pardew's squad for the trip to Greece and he was aware that he stood to break Carroll's record if he was introduced into the fray.

"I've been reading about it quite a lot recently," he smiled.

"It was something I definitely wanted to do but it was just an experience to come anyway. If I hadn't played, if I hadn't been in the squad, it wouldn't have mattered. Like I say, it's just good that Newcastle are back in Europe and we've got a good result to take back to our stadium."

He may have only had to wait 17 years and 236 days for it, but as it turned out the youngster did have to be patient before making his European bow for the Magpies because quite some time passed between the moment Pardew told Campbell to get ready to come on and his eventual arrival in the 77th minute.

"I just wanted to get my top on as soon as I could," he remembered. "I was thinking 'right, next time it's out I'm on' and then it went out and the fourth official wasn't ready and then it went out again and the referee wasn't ready and then it went out again and they took it quickly!

"So by the next time, when I was actually going to get on, the ball didn't go out for absolutely ages. It seemed like a lifetime but it was just good to get on - and looking back at it, you can laugh about how long it took!"

And as well as the debut, there was nearly a goal when he raced onto Vurnon Anita's pass but was forced slightly wide of goal and saw his shot from a narrow angle saved by Charles Itandje.

"That's obviously your dream; you play for Newcastle and you want to score for Newcastle," he said.

"I think it was quite a good chance. Vurn, you saw through the game how technically gifted he is and he just found that ball perfectly and then my touch let me down - which is a shame, really, because the way I've been playing recently my touch has been quite good.

"But never mind, it happens."

The only real disappointment for Campbell was that his family weren't able to see him make history, but he hopes they might get the opportunity to watch him play in the second leg of the tie at the Sports Direct Arena next Thursday.

"They couldn't get the time off and the flights and everything were too expensive," he explained. "I think many fans found that, when they were looking to book flights the prices were just horrendous with your flight and your ticket and the hotel on top.

"But I was straight on the phone to my mam when I got on the bus and then on Skype with them later on so they're just as buzzing as me, because as long as I've dreamed of it, they've dreamed of it. And I couldn't be here without them so I owe them pretty much everything.

"And they'll definitely be there at the next game whether I'm in the squad or not. All the family go to the games so we'll all be there one way or another - but obviously it'd be nice to get in the squad again."