Alan Pardew Casts An Eye Towards the Future
With Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew enduring a season ruined by injuries and lack of form from his key players, here's a look at the next generation of Newcastle players who could be ready to step up to the mark and fly the flag for the Magpies.
This list looks at the best players under the age of 20 that Newcastle have on their books and highlights the men who could be the next batch of Geordie heroes.
For the record, fringe first team players like James Tavernier and Shane Ferguson are too old for the list and have therefore been overlooked in favour of younger talent.
The seven players are ranked in terms of potential only and are as follows:
Abeid In Action Against Olympiakos in Pre-Season
A strong and solid defensive midfielder with an eye for a pass, hopes are high for the French-born Algerian under-23 international. Abeid was one of the players spotted by chief scout Graham Carr as he scoured France and recommended the Lens man to manager Alan Pardew, who was happy to push through a deal for a nominal fee.
Abeid has spent his Newcastle career so far with the reserves, turning in a number of promising performances. His eye for goal has been an unexpected bonus. Pardew has selected the 20-year-old for a handful of first team squads, although never introducing him to the first team in a league fixture.
The FA Cup clash against Brighton in which Newcastle slumped to a 2-0 defeat saw Abeid start for the first team, although he struggled with the pace of the game and looked out of touch. Pardew is expected to loan the Algerian out to a lower league club in a bid to get him closer to the first team picture, but it’s another couple of seasons before Abeid can think of being a regular at St. James’ Park.
At just 18 years old, Streete has quickly became one of the stars of the reserve side. A commanding defender who has warmed the bench for the first team a handful of times, Streete is expected to be challenging for the first team before long. Tamas Kadar was formerly considered the best defender in the reserve squad but since Streete signed a professional contract, his quality has shone through and Kadar has since been released.
Standing 6’2” and deceptively quick across the ground, Streete is the son of former Wolves player Lloyd Streete and has won the Jack Hixon Award (given to the brightest prospects Newcastle have at their disposal) in 2010.
Good In Action for Bradford City
Another promising centre-back, Good is currently on loan at Bradford City and has the chance to play at Wembley if the Bantams qualify for the Capital One Cup final.
The Aussie impressed scouts and reserve team coaches when he flew across the world for a trial at Newcastle and soon penned a mammoth six-year deal. The length of the contract signalled how much Alan Pardew and his team were impressed by the teenager and signals that the Toon boss sees Good as part of his first team squad in upcoming years.
Naturally left-footed and capable of playing in the centre of defence or the left, Good has turned in many encouraging displays for Bradford and could be sent out on loan again—possibly to a higher league team—next season.
Sammy Is Aiming to Emulate Older Brother Shola In Newcastle Colours
The most advanced player in terms of first-team experience in this list, Sammy Ameobi is the likeable younger brother of Geordie hero Shola.
Despite being two inches taller than his 30-year-old sibling, Sammy possesses an entirely different set of skills to the aerial powerhouse that is Shola. Pace, dribbling and creativity are Sammy’s key attributes and Newcastle fans have seen glimpses of undoubted potential in his fledgling career so far.
A regular of the first team squad due to injuries to key players, Ameobi has racked up 19 appearances so far and is clearly held in high regard by Alan Pardew.
Ameobi needs to work on his final pass and consistency if he is to make it in the first team though, and a period out on loan could be pivotal to the youngster’s development. Too unpredictable at times, if Sammy can find some form and experience, he could go on to ensure there is an Ameobi in the Newcastle ranks for a number of years to come.
Tiote Lookalike Bigirimana Is Working Hard to Break Into the First Team Setup
The former Coventry man signed for Newcastle this summer for a fee of £500,000 and has since gone on to impress in his short time at St James’ Park. Despite being expected to be a reserve team player for the duration of the season, injuries to the likes of Yohan Cabaye have provided “Bigi” with a chance to show what he can do in the first team.
An energetic, box-to-box midfielder who can be a threat going forward (as demonstrated by his excellent goal against Wigan), Bigirimana has won the hearts of the Geordie fans with a series of tireless, whole-hearted performances. Alan Pardew rewarded his form by starting the Burundi-born midfielder in the Boxing Day clash against Manchester United and the youngster was not overawed.
His similarity in appearance to Cheick Tiote has earned Bigirimana with the nickname “Mini-Cheick” and his handful of displays in the first team have fans excited about Bigi’s future in black and white.
Moving towards the top of the list now, and we come across one of the brightest talents in the country in 18-year old Adam Campbell.
A graduate of the famous Wallsend Boys Club that honed the talent of the likes of Peter Beardsley and Alan Shearer, Campbell has flew through the ranks at Newcastle and is playing regular reserve team football.
Diminutive and pacy, the striker has a keen eye for goal and after netting freely in reserve games at the beginning of this season, Campbell made his first team bow in the Europa League, coming on for the final stages against Atromitos.
Campbell turned 18 on New Year’s Day and if his potential can be nurtured correctly, he could be in line for a fruitful Newcastle career. Given the Toon Army’s love of local strikers who score goals for fun, Campbell has everything he needs to be a success on Tyneside.
Vuckic Has Impressed When Fully Fit
The Slovenian playmaker seems to have been a part of Newcastle United for an eternity, but Vuckic is still only 20 and still has a mass of talent waiting to be unleashed.
Vuckic made his Newcastle debut when he was 17 and despite everyone at the club knowing of his genuine talent, Vuckic has only made six first team appearances so far in his Magpies’ career. The reason behind the lack of games has been a result of constant injuries, with Vuckic rarely staying fit for long enough to push for the first team.
Another stumbling block is Vuckic’s position, with Newcastle not set up to accommodate his natural central attacking midfield role. In the past, he has been used in centre midfield as well as striker but neither fully suit the left-footed Vuckic, who prefers to lurk behind a centre forward.
Currently sidelined with a knee injury, now could be the perfect time for Vuckic to push for a first team place, with Alan Pardew now favouring a 4-2-3-1 formation in which his Slovenian prospect could thrive.