An excellent article from Miles Starforth today in the Sunderland Echo, where Miles has held an interview with one of our very top young stars, 18 year-old Ben Tozer.
Ben Tozer – loves it at Newcastle,Â just loves it
Ben was one of ourÂ first signings in January, and he performed so very well for the Reserves through the end of the season, and it’s probably a bit of an understatement to say he looks like a really good prospect for the future.
And the Plymouth-born 18 year-old seems so very keen to return to pre-season training next week, so he can start working with Kevin Keegan again and getting more tips from the gaffer.
The 18-year-old was signed from Swindon Town in early January in a deal that’s probably going to cost us around Â£1M to his former club Swindon Town, but he’ll be more than worth that.
It seems like Kevin has taken a very keen interest in all our youngsters, and seems only too willing to embrace the youth strategy that was initiated at the club, before he arrived back.
Hopefully some of these great youngsters we have, will shortly start pushing for a first team place.
It was noticeable last season that Kevin attended almost every single Reserve team game, both home and away, and that in itself is just a great message to the youngsters.
Kevin is showing quite clearly by his actions, that he is following the development of all the youngsters at the club.
Just terrific man management from Kevin Keegan.
And Tozer says Kevin’s individual help and encouragement has meant a lot to him these last several months:
“I speak to Kevin Keegan pretty much on a daily basis, and he’s a really nice bloke.”
“He’s always very positive and keen to know how I’m doing.”
“He’s also got lots of good ideas, which he passes on to the players.”
Before he arrived on Tyneside, Tozer played a handful of first-team games for Swindon Town, and he has obviously been tagged as a player with tremendous potential at the club, and at 6’1″ he is probably still growing.
Ben can play at either center-back or left-back, and he may even be sent out for 6 months on loan to a Championship side next season, to accelerate his football development, and maybe center-back will become his best position as he develops further.
“I’m glad to get back to Newcastle for pre-season training â€“ I love it,”
“I’m only six months into my (four-year contract) with Newcastle, but I’m pleased with my progress.”
“Obviously, I want to play in the first team, hopefully this season, but a lot will depend on which players we sign.”
“I’ve been happy playing in the reserves â€“ it’s all a learning curve for me. I was really pleased that we won the Northumberland Cup â€“ there is a lot of local rivalry on Tyneside.”
“I’ve been playing center back in the reserves, although if they want me to play at left-back that’s fine, too.”
“I’m working hard at getting fitter and stronger â€“ there’s already a difference in me, and I think I’ll be stronger again this year.”
Ben is just a fantastic lad, and as you can see from his comments, is just over the moon to be at the Newcastle club, and has such a positive attitude.
It gives us all a lift when you hear what Ben thinks of the club, and he’s not even a Geordie, although he probably was one in a former life.
Yes, that would explain it. 😀