By Austin Orton
It was a case of friends reunited for Gideon Adu-Peprah on Saturday, as Newcastle United's under-18s went head-to-head with their Manchester City counterparts.
However, despite suffering a 2-0 defeat against his former side in the Barclays Under-18 Premier League fixture, the Magpies' defender felt there was plenty to be positive about.
Adu-Peprah, who left the Etihad Stadium for Tyneside last summer, impressed at the weekend, making a number of important challenges while also offering an attacking threat from his left-back berth.
And he admitted to nufc.co.uk: "It was quite weird if I'm being honest. I used to play with these lads so I was chatting to them all before the game. It was different but I actually really enjoyed it.
"Isaac (Buckley), who was up against me on my side, I know well, and then in the second half Aaron (Nemane) I'm close to, so it was fun to play against them.
"And sometimes when I was looking around and seeing all the lads who I know it did feel like I was back at training.
"When they put Aaron on me in the second half I knew about his pace so I had to be a bit smarter about it. I couldn't get caught too tight so I was dropping a bit more. Both wingers were quick to be fair to them but I thought I handled them well."
United make the short trip to Wearside on Tuesday to face local rivals Sunderland, and Adu-Peprah believes their performance at Little Benton against Manchester City was a positive that they must take into the derby.
"We've played well against a top side in Man City - everyone wanted the ball and nobody was hiding," he continued.
"The team looked together from start to finish and I think we did ourselves justice out there.
"The games against Sunderland are always intense, even at this level. If we get a result the fans take pride in it, saying the under-18s have just beat Sunderland, so hopefully we can make that happen.
"Everyone is up for it and if we play like we have did against Man City we should get a result."