Rock star Mark Knopfler will unveil a new version of his Local Hero theme in front of 50,000 Newcastle United fans on Saturday and said “I want to be nervous but I’m too excited”.

The former Dire Straits front man joined more than 50 renowned guitarists, including Bruce Springsteen, Ronnie Wood and Eric Clapton, on a reworked version of the song in aid of the Teenager Cancer Trust.

Having met young cancer patients at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle, Knopfler said he felt “overwhelmed” by the care the staff provided and the positivity of the people there.

Mark Knopfler poses with Lauren Taylor, 18, during a visit to the Teenage Cancer Trust ward at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle
Mark Knopfler met Lauren Taylor, 18, during his visit to the Teenage Cancer Trust ward at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle (Owen Humphreys/PA)

He told the PA news agency: “I was just talking to a young girl there who was told she wouldn’t walk again, and she was just standing there, talking to me.

“She couldn’t walk when she came into the hospital and she walked out of it.

“This is just the best thing. I can’t think of anything better than that.”

Newcastle United players run out to the Going Home: Theme Of The Local Hero cheered on by 50,000 fans for every home game.

Knopfler will be on the pitch for Saturday’s Premier League game against Wolverhampton Wanderers, when the new version will be aired.

Knopfler said: “I want to be nervous but I am too excited.

“It’s pretty emotional.”

The 74-year-old, who grew up in Blyth, Northumberland, said his love of football dated back to childhood.

He said: “It goes back a long way and goes back to when I was kicking a tennis ball about.”

Mark Knopfler meeting nurses and staff during his visit
Knopfler met nurses and staff during his visit (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Knopfler said he loved knowing his team ran out to his song, saying: “It’s fantastic, there’s nothing like that.

“I would be devastated if they ever were to say, ‘hey, they took your song off’.”

Knopfler said putting the new version of the track together was not simply a question of ringing up the likes of Slash, Sting or Ronnie Wood to ask if they would support the charity record.

He said it was largely down to long-time studio collaborator Guy Fletcher who pieced it together from the different artists around the world.

Knopfler said the part played by Jeff Beck, the last piece he did before he died, was “magical”.

Among the patients Knopfler met at the Teenager Cancer Trust ward in Newcastle was 18-year-old Lauren Taylor, from Middlesbrough, who was diagnosed with brain and spinal tumours aged 15.

Mark Knopfler talks with Lauren Taylor
Patient Lauren Taylor, right, praised the staff and the ethos of the ward (Owen Humphreys/PA)

She was warned she would never walk again but following intense physiotherapy she is able to study sport and exercise science at college.

Lauren, who is still undergoing treatment, praised the staff and the ethos of the ward, where she said young patients were made to feel less alone.

After meeting the rock star, she said: “He is such a lovely person.”

Jake Adams, 23, from Houghton-le-Spring, Tyne and Wear, was first treated on the ward when he was 19 after he developed a brain tumour.

He said: “It is such an amazing facility, it’s almost like a home-from-home.

“It can make such a sad, depressing time that bit better by having normal things around you.”