By Alex Taylor

Steve Harper has been appointed as Newcastle’s new academy goalkeeping coach, it was announced on Thursday.

The 41-year-old will work with young keepers from under-nine level up to the under-16 team.

Harper will focus on work out on the training pitch, as well as helping to create a programme that develops young players in a manner that ‘meets the philosophy of Newcastle United’

“I’m delighted to be working with the young goalkeepers at the Academy,” Harper told the Newcastle website.

“I’ve been involved in grassroots football in the area for the last six years so I have extensive knowledge of the many junior football clubs throughout the region. It’s great to be back at the Club in a coaching capacity and I’m looking forward to starting.”

Harper is the Magpies’ longest-serving player and spent 20 years at St. James’ Park between 1993 and 2013, making 199 appearances.

The shot-stopper enjoyed a successful career, featuring for the Toon in an FA Cup final, the Champions League, UEFA Cup and in the Europa League.

Harper retired from professional football after the expiration of his contract at Newcastle in May 2013 but returned for two brief spells with Hull and Sunderland, before finally hanging up his boots for good in June 2016.

The Tyneside outfit have recently appointed new manager Rafa Benitez and despite suffering relegation last year, will be hoping to make a swift return to the Premier League.

In other Newcastle team news, Benitez will look to reshuffle his pack once again against Bristol City, with Ciaran Clark making way for captain Jamaal Lascelles at the heart of Newcastle’s defence.