Lee Clark as Reserve Team manager has an important job at Newcastle because Sam has already said he will use the reserve team to get players ready for the first team. He will use the team to give senior players a game in cases where they haven’t played for a while.
It is also a vehicle in the development of the young players coming through the club, which according to Sam has to be improved at Newcastle
Let’s take a look at what Lee told the Newcastle Evening Chronicle yesterday.
Lee Clark – now has an important youth development role at Newcastle
This is what Clark told Lee Ryder of the Evening Chronicle yesterday:
â€œThe focus is to get players ready for the first team.â€â€œWe need to provide the manager with players who will be ready once they get called up so they can slot in quickly.â€
â€œThe manager may need to use some of the youngsters, and we want to make sure they are ready when they get called up.â€
Sam Allardyce has already criticized the lack of youth coming through at Newcastle even though we thought the youth set-up was doing well and the team reached the semi-final of the FA Youth Cup these last two years. However, there are few of those players who seem to finally make the grade at Newcastle.
The latest young player to leave of course is Paul Huntington, who surprisingly went to Leeds United last Friday. We also reported yesterday of the concern Sir Trevor Brooking has about the influx of foreign players into the Premiership, which is said to make it more difficult for the youngsters to experience first team football in England.
Clark went on:
â€œIf they donâ€™t stay here we want to make sure they move on to another club in the Football League like Paul Huntington did at Leeds.â€ â€œIt breaks my heart to see players drift out of the game or into non-league football.â€
â€œWe want to make sure they go to the Championship from here or at least the Football League.â€ â€œWe want them to make a living out of the game after they have been at the club.â€
â€œThatâ€™s why we want to get the lads at a level where they are good enough to compete in the first team.â€
The reserve team and youth team this season will be under a little pressure from manager Sam Allardyce, as he wants to see more players making the grade at Newcastle. Sam told the Sunday Times in mid-August:
â€œOur academy here just let the whole of their final year go without signing even one of them as a professional,â€ â€œIt means the young boys weâ€™ve been getting arenâ€™t good enough, and obviously thatâ€™s a concern.â€
â€œWe have to do better in terms of development.â€
â€œIâ€™m concentrating on the first team at the moment, because that has to be my priority, but in the near future weâ€™ll have to look at the kidsâ€™ set-up.â€
Yes, we know he’s talking about the youth team, but the good ones move up quickly to the reserve team and that’s when Lee Clark takes over. We do have two very good prospects out on loan â€“ Andy Carroll (Preston) and Tim Krul (Falkirk) and both look very good at 19 years old and they are getting what they need for the next 6 months, which is games.
We also have some good youngsters coming through with defenders like Alex Francis, Darren Lough and Mark Doninger all shining in front of Sam Allardyce already this season. As far as forwards, we have Jonny Godsmark, Frank Danquah and Kazenga LuaLua all looking promising. By the way, recent rumors that LuaLua has left the club are completely unfounded.
We’ll need to keep our feet on the ground with the youngsters and the reserve team, but we’ll also be looking for at least one coming through this season. However, with the strong first team squad Sam has now developed that will not be easy. We think Darren Lough looked like an excellent young player when he played for the first team in pre-season. His second half performance against Juventus at left-back was outstanding, so we’ll give him a mention and pick him as one to look out for.
Comments always welcome.