It seems that Alan Pardew was impressed with a few of the youngsters at Newcastle, when he arrived last December.
Shane Ferguson – warming up
And he was immediately impressed with a young 19 year-old Irishman, Shane Ferguson, who had already made a couple of good performances for the Newcastle first team for former manager Chris Hughton, and apparently is also impressive in training.
This is what Alan said about the baby-faced youngster today:
“It’s a little before his time if I’m honest, but he has done fantastically well,”
“He is being asked to play before he has really had a chance to get a feel for the Premier League, and I was a little concerned about asking him to come into the side so quickly, but he has not looked out of place.”
“Players either sink or swim when they get a chance like this. This is the opening young players wait for, and he is determined to make the most of it and I’ve been really pleased with him.”
“I thought he looked a little nervous when he first went on against Stoke, but that is understandable. He grew in confidence, though, and his performance shows the talent he has. He still had a lot to learn, but he will only benefit from this experience.”
Just before he came on at Stoke Alan has a little word with the 19 year old and then gave him a friendly push – much like a father would do to his son – but this lad looks like a star of the future, and seemed unfazed by playing at Stoke, and was our Man of the Match easily – with a whopping 75% of the vote.
Newcastle fans are waiting to see if Jose Enrique will be able to play a week today against Wolves, and Shane has become the obvious replacement if the Spaniard cannot make it, or we thought he was.
Newcastle should have some confidence that the 19 year-old can get the job done against Wolves, and of course he’ll get some terrific support from the Newcastle fans.
Alan has tried the old game of playing experienced players out of position to fill in for Jose, but what’s wrong with playing a young natural left back in that position, who has proved he can do the job for Newcastle?
The problem is that you don’t want to bring the youngsters through too quickly because a poor performance can knock them back, and we have to remember Shane and the other youngsters are still learning their trade and will make mistakes.
“We wouldn’t have played Shane if we didn’t have to, but Jose did the sensible thing and came off when he felt his hamstring tighten.”
“We don’t know about Jose yet in terms of whether he’ll be fit for Wolves. It’s probably going to be touch and go but the break gives him a chance to rest and we’ll assess him next week.”
“Shane has done brilliantly, he was excellent at Stoke, but the Wolves game is a different proposition for a young player like him. It’s one thing coming on as a substitute, but very different actually starting the game.”
“We know how important that game is and it’s asking a lot of a young lad who has not started a league game before to come into the side in a game of that size.”
Those words about Jose don’t sound too convincing, even though earlier in the week the news was that Jose would make it for the game, and the simple truth is it was a mistake to have played him last Saturday, despite the positive spin Alan has tried to put on it.
And it doesn’t sound too convincing that the manager will start Shane against Wolves either, so we may see Steven Taylor at left back, and of course he has played there before for Newcastle.
Alan Pardew himself had said that if Jose missed the Stoke game he would definitely be fit for Wolves, but now that is not the case.
So if there’s any doubt at all about Jose for the Wolves game, just don’t play him, and let the Spaniard fully recover.
Shane can get the job done against Wolves, if only he is given the chance to do that.