Dan Marshall is ready to grab his opportunity after being named in Newcastle Falcons’ starting XV for Sunday’s European Challenge Cup visit of Lyon.
The 19-year-old will be making his sixth competitive senior appearance in the 3pm kick-off, having come on from the bench during last week’s 42-12 defeat to the same opposition last weekend.
Marshall said: “I’ve been trying to progress into the first team and get as many opportunities as I can.
“I was targeting the European stuff mainly, and hopefully through that I might impress enough to play in the Premiership. That’s my target, to get as many first-team opportunities as I can.”
A graduate of the club’s AASE scheme and a committed Falcons fan as a child, the dream of representing his hometown club has become a reality for a player who has already shown his finishing ability on the Premiership 7s stage.
“I started at Ponteland RFC just up the road, then I went to Gosforth High School, which runs the AASE scheme,” he said.
“I played there for two years and at the end of that I played in the under-18 academy and got a professional contract last year. I did a whole season last year with a bit of first-team involvement and A League stuff, progressing up and winning a new contract this year.
“Everyone’s really helpful. We all train and integrate together with the first team squad, so if you do something and they think something would work better they’ll have a word with you after training and help you out. Everyone’s great.”
Having followed the Falcons from the terraces, Marshall explained: “I’ve come and watched this team since I was seven.
“Some of the lads I watched are still playing here now, like Will Welch and Ally Hogg. I’ve been watching them since I was a kid and now I’m playing with them, so it’s pretty good. There’s nothing better if you’re a homegrown lad than to play for your home team.”
Confident he is at the right club when it comes to backing young players, he added: “If you think about even the past couple of seasons, there have been loads of players coming through. Everyone says if you’re good enough you’ll play, and it spurs you on more.
“We’re the only North East club so we need to integrate all the clubs from Newcastle, Cumbria, Durham and all that. Everyone supports this club and wants to do it proud.”
Tickets for Sunday’s 3pm kick-off v Lyon are available by calling 0871 226 6060 or by clicking here.