AT last Nathan Luscombe finally feels like a footballer.
Returning to the Pools dressing room after his victory-crowning strike – his first senior goal – during Saturday’s 2-0 success over Exeter City, the 21-year-old was greeted with a queue of text messages and voicemails.
His friends, back in Gateshead, had earlier hit the roof of the local pub when Luscombe’s red-fonted name flashed up on Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday programme.
His head was still spinning from the 89th-minute goal and joyous celebration in front of 5,000 Poolies when he listened to his pals blast out a chorus of “There’s only one Nathan Luscombe” from their South Tyneside watering hole.
And the former Sunderland youngster, who was enjoying just his sixth-ever appearance, admits that his maiden professional strike was a coming-of-age moment.
“I’ve scored goals in the reserves before, when it’s a man and his dog, but in front of 5,000 fans shouting your name it’s a totally different feeling – it was great,” he told SportMail today.
“Unfortunately all my family were at work but I checked my phone after the game and had a load of messages.
“All my mates were down the pub and they left me voicemails cheering and singing ‘there’s only one Nathan Luscombe’.
“Just having that name on the back of your shirt feels great and when you step on the pitch and you can hear the fans it’s a great feeling.
“I was at Sunderland for all those years and only made a couple of appearances.
“No disrespect to Sunderland, they’ve got great people and great coaches, but it’s a man’s game here.
“When you’re a reserve player you don’t get told off as much. They say it’s a learning curve.
“We weren’t called the reserves, we were called the development squad, even though we were 21.
“So just to be in the squad on a Saturday here makes a massive difference.
“I feel like a proper footballer now and I’m loving every minute of it.”
FULL story in Tuesday’s Mail ...