Newcastle Youth Policy So Vital To Future Success

It was good to hear that Newcastle last week were pursuing two promising 18 year-olds.

Vegar Eggen Hedenstad – Newcastle interested

We broke the news last week that Newcastle had signed 18 year-old Fahoe Islands Forward Jóhan Símun Edmundsson, and the Sunday Sun yesterday had a nice piece on him, quoting the Faroe Islands manager Brian Kerr, who certainly seems to rate the youngster.

And yesterday we heard that the club was also  interested in a promising Norwegian defender, Vegar Eggen Hedenstad, another 18 year-old who plays ion either full back position, and currently plays for Stabæk in Norway.

We’ve had a couple of comments this morning from some Norwegian readers, suggesting this guy is a wonder kid – so that’s good – and he’s also a Newcastle United supporter since he was a kid, so that’s also promising.

The one (maybe the only) thing Mike Ashley has done well at Newcastle since he came in June, 2007, was to reinvigorate the Newcastle United Youth Policy.

In January of 2007, we signed five top class youngsters, three of which were Tamas Kadar, Ben Tozer and Ole Soderberg, and they are all progressing well at the club, and Tamas and Ben have already appeared in the first team.

Other top youngsters we have at the club right now include 18 year-old Nile Ranger – seemingly a future star in the making, Aaron Spear, Haris Vuckic, James Tavernier, Jak Alnick, Samuel Adjei, Brad Inamn, Shane Ferguson, Michael McCrudeen, Philip Airey, Patrick McLaughlin and a number of others.

The vast majority of these lads are part of the current Youth Academy, but Alan Thompson has also given them their chance in the Newcastle Reserve side.

And we saw last week, the lads are through to the quarter finals of the FA Youth Cup, after hammering West Ham at Upton Park 3-0 in a terrific display.

So it would appear that we will continue to focus on bringing in top youngsters to the club, including the best local lads, and that will help the club produce some future stars that we literally pay very little for.

Right now Nile Ranger, Tamas Kadar and Haris Vuckic are very good bets to be first team regulars within a couple of seasons.

And good news today that the club has confirmed the appointment of Graham Carr as the club’s new chief scout.

The official announcement on the Newcastle web-site tells us that  Corbridge-born Carr played in the 1960s (didn’t we all) with clubs like Northampton Town, whom he later managed, and York City.

The 65-year-old has been scouting for clubs including Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Notts County – so it’s good that the club seems to be strengthening the global scouting network.

That will allow us to bring in unknown players such as Sebastien Bassong,  for next to nothing, and then make them into top Premier League players.

Although we couldn’t hold onto Sebastien because of our relegation last season, and sold him to Spurs, we made a handy £8M profit on him in just 10 months.

This is the way forward at Newcastle, and we are just delighted we are seeing signs that Newcastle are indeed investing in both Youth Development and the world-wide scouting network.

This will pay off big time for us in the future, and we look forward to bringing in additional young talent during the summer.

Comments very welcome.

13 comments so far

  • Stardust

    Feb 8, 2010 at 5:16 PM

    Comment #1

    Uts sad this year that CH hasnt taken advantage and played a few of the juniors a bit more whilst we are down here – I appreciate its easy to say when he is pushing for promotion, and he doesnt want to take unnecessary risks but all the same Id like to see a few of the lads at least get a few run out -IF promotion is assured with a few games to play.

  • Gosforth Phil

    Feb 8, 2010 at 5:16 PM

    Comment #2

    Or.. are they seen as cheap or small risk options that will hopefully accrue value and then be flogged as soon as a decent offer comes in?

    MA has made me think this way!

  • Wallsendboys

    Feb 8, 2010 at 5:21 PM

    Comment #3

    Ed. – Spot on! The future of football, not just at Newcastle, will depend on teams having good scouts, developing your own local talent, and a youth policy that brings in the best available youngsters.

    An interesting article in the times, by Simon Kuper entitled – Football clubs desert the January sales gives a good insight into what may be happening to football

  • Rotonda heights

    Feb 8, 2010 at 5:34 PM

    Comment #4

    Absolutely spot on Ed.

    I’m a bit sad that the likes of Lua and Baheng seem to have fallen by the wayside or not be considered good enough, but Krul , Ranger and Kadar seem to be getting the the odd game here and there.

    Spear, Vuksic, Adjei and Ferguson to come as well.

  • GeordieMeerkat

    Feb 8, 2010 at 6:00 PM

    Comment #5

    Well now we have a larger and more complete first team we should be able to loan a few out to various clubs to get them some regular first team action and see how they fare.

    Baheng, Tozer and Donaldson should definitely go out on loan for at least a month. Perhaps see if Lee Clark’s Huddersfield side could use a boost in their chase for promotion.

  • costello91

    Feb 8, 2010 at 6:09 PM

    Comment #6

    Lads just heard newcastle are going back to ireland for pre-season? any truth in this?

  • gorskino10

    Feb 8, 2010 at 7:28 PM

    Comment #7

    Damm when did this blog come back!! I thought it was down forever ?

    Glad to see it back anywho.

    Yes, Youth is key for the future of NUFC and every other club, We have an ok Youth squad in place but have checked recently on NUFC site and we are quite low in the table :s.

    Also on the hiring on Graham Carr is good to see we are looking at that area, but quotting Bassong is a tad different, as for one he was recommened to Kev by a mate he knows who was a Agent, so this example didn’t include anyone scouting him from us, you could of included other examples of buying Youth like James Milner and now seeing him being a key player at Villa now.

    But nice report nevertheless but always in that catagory of 1st teamers in a few years i also see Krul or Forster overtaking Harper when he retires and also Donaldson will be in our Midfield i reckon whenever Butt leaves/Retires

  • The Entertainers

    Feb 8, 2010 at 7:28 PM

    Comment #8

    I agree about the youth policy and believe this area is one that Ashley has improved on sine arriving and for me the only thing he has got right………

  • sahil

    Feb 8, 2010 at 8:27 PM

    Comment #9

    I haven’t seem much of Vuckic. Apperently AC Milan were after him before us? can someone tell me what’s so good bout him? cheers.

  • chuck

    Feb 8, 2010 at 9:00 PM

    Comment #10

    Interested in who was the scout who reccomended Bassong ?

  • Robby Bobson

    Feb 9, 2010 at 3:52 AM

    Comment #11

    Chuck….his agent was touting him about and Keegan said yer ill give him a trial.

    He ran from France after relegation and ran from the toon after relegation.

  • lesh

    Feb 9, 2010 at 9:05 AM

    Comment #12

    Why oh why don’t we just get these kids signed up on a pre-contract without letting the world and nip in a beat us to them?


    Feb 9, 2010 at 1:42 PM

    Comment #13

    agree with ed on this one, its been a while since we have all been optimisitc about the players coming through at the club. the test will be if our youngsters can cut it in the premier league. in an ideal world we would secure promotion to the PL asap and give some of these kids a good run and then possibly a championship loan next season to support their development. however given our squad is now at its strongest in terms of number, would be good to see some of them playing regularly in div 1 now.


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