'The best feeling' - Cass reveals comeback delight following long-term injury
Written by Luke Vinton
Lewis Cass was delighted to play his first full 90 minutes in over three months as Newcastle's second string beat Southampton 3-0 to qualify for the Premier League Cup knockout stages.
Luke Charman's opener, followed by Yannick Touré's brace, ensured Newcastle's passage to the last 16 of the competition, with Leeds United still to face in their final Group H tie.
Cass, who turned 19 on Thursday, has had a week to remember with the defender starting in both of United's cup clashes, which included a dominant 7-2 victory over Blyth Spartans on Tuesday, reaching the last four in the Northumberland Senior Cup along with recording their first clean sheet since late November.
And the right-back, who suffered an ankle injury against Manchester United's under-23s at the beginning of November, was overjoyed at returning to the starting eleven and playing a key part in both of Newcastle's cup clashes.
"It was a great team performance to get an important win to qualify from the group," Cass told nufc.co.uk. "We are all very happy with the result. It's the first clean sheet we've had in a while so all the lads were buzzing. You could hear it from the noise of all of our players on the pitch.
"Southampton tried to break us down but we all grafted very hard and stuck together. There was great communication during the game and we knew playing in a cup game that we had a lot to fight for.
"It's the best feeling to be back playing football again. I've been watching the players in previous matches and it's been killing me! The injury was difficult mentally as it was the first time I'd suffered a long one like that. I was sidelined for a few months so I tried to stay positive throughout which the players and staff helped contributed to. It is great to come back into the team and picking up good wins as well as keeping a clean sheet."
United's youngsters reached the quarter-finals of the Premier League Cup last term, suffering a 2-1 defeat at Sheffield United.
However, Cass feels that Newcastle are more than capable of enjoying a successful run in the tournament and is keen to gain more appearances following his recent comeback to playing action.
"There are many positives that we can take from the cup games we play in," he said. "Personally, there is an importance as it gives myself different experiences for my career. We go into every match with the belief that we can win and I don't see why we can't go all the way in the competition.
"We are now looking to build on a positive week when we travel to Reading, who are one of the top sides in the division, but hopefully we can repeat a similar performance next week. I feel like I'm playing well since coming back from my injury. Against Blyth, I managed to play 45 minutes and then the full match against Southampton so hopefully I can get the same next week and continue to keep moving forward."