Newcastle vs Brighton / Steven Alzate: ‘The flair and skill is the Colombian part of me’
Steven Alzate believes the flair and skilful aspect of his game is due to his Colombian heritage following his impressive Premier League debut at Newcastle yesterday.
Alzate, who was born in London to Colombian parents, demonstrated his talents on the grand stage during the televised 0-0 draw at St James’ Park.
The midfielder came in for Solly March - who has a minor hamstring problem - and played the full 90 minutes of an intense and highly competitive Premier League match.
“It was an incredible feeling to get my Premier League debut, especially to play at a stadium like this,” said the 21-year-old.
“The atmosphere was crazy as well it was unbelievable. Before the game, the manager told me just play my game and be confident on the ball. I felt like I did that and he told me, when I have the guy one-v-one, just take him on. I just did the usual stuff I have been doing for the last few months.
“My parents are Colombian so I think the flair and skills, that’s the Colombian part of me.”
Alzate joined Brighton from Leyton Orient for an undisclosed fee in 2017. He has featured regularly for the under-23s and also had a spell on loan at Swindon Town, where he made 22 appearances last season. He started against Newcastle at left wing back but moved into a more central position during the second half.
“We deserved to win the game,” he said. “I felt in the first half we dominated. But on a personal note it was great to get my debut with a good performance as well. It (left wing back) was a new position. I have played on the right before, so it was pretty much the same but just on the other side. Obviously I’m a midfielder but I will play wherever the manager wants me to play and get the job done.”
Head coach Graham Potter has spoke highly of Alzate’s talents since arriving at the club in May. The under-23 has trained with the first team throughout pre-season and performed well for Brighton in Carabao Cup victory at Bristol Rovers last month. Alzate was the best player on the pitch on that day and the youngster admits the help of the senior players has enabled him to feel comfortable in the first team environment.
Alzate said, “The senior players have been very encouraging. I have been with them since pre-season. Dan Burn was on my side of the pitch today and he was talking me through the whole game which was really helpful.
“I have to keep going now and keep pushing. The manager gave me the opportunity and I felt like I took it but I have to keep pushing and we have to start picking up results as well now.”
Potter has been true to his word. He stated from the start he would give the younger players - such as Alzate and Aaron Connolly - a chance to shine in the Premier. “I thought he did really well,” said the head coach. “Really pleased for him. I think if you asked the boys, they are not surprise because he has trained with us every day. He has shown that quality daily, it is just the next step to play.
“We had a couple of injuries so it allows him to come and play but he probably deserved it on merit anyway, if I am honest.”