Shane Ferguson was the youngster who burst onto the Newcastle first team scene this year.
James Tavernier – break-through next season?
With Jose Enrique injured, Alan Pardew was initially hesitant to give the young 19 year-old baby-faced Ferguson a chance.
But after Alan eventually brought Shane on against Stoke, the youngster never looked back, and played well every time he was in the Newcatsle first team.
But there is another 19 year-old full-back on Newcastle’s books, who could come through big time next season, and that is 19 year old Bradford-born defender James Tavernier.
James had a good loan spell at Gateshead earlier this year, and he was outstanding in the 18 games he played for the other Tyneside club.
James started his career at Leeds back in 2001, before joining Newcastle three years ago, and he has so far made two first team appearances for the club.
Newcastle manager Pardew has already said that Tavernier will start next season in the first-team pool next season, and he he’ll get his chance in pre-season.
Peter Beardsley, the Newcastle Reserve team coach, talked to the local press about the youngster:
“Tav was outstanding. He’s stronger physically, he heads it well, and he’s obviously an athlete.”
“He can run all day, and I’m guessing that was one of the things that stood out when he came to the club.”
“All he’s got to do is cut out the mistakes and, if he can do that, he’s got a real chance.”
Peter commented on James’ loan spell at Gateshead, a club Newcastle could use to blood some of their up and coming youngsters in the future.
“It’s a good standard and I watched him play against plenty of decent teams.”
20 year-old Ryan Donaldson’s contract runs out at the end of this month, and it’s still not clear if he will be offered a new deal to stay at his home-town club.
But the local lad also did well on his loan spell at Hartlepool United this year, where he made 12 first-team appearances, and Beardsley thought both youngsters did well out on loan:
“They did well at Gateshead and Hartlepool.”
“They got on well, and they improved as players for their time on loan.” But he still feels that the young duo have plenty of work to do.”
“There’s a lot at this level to try to improve on, whether it be in training, or matches.” “But there’s a lot to look forward to.”
With the surprising news yesterday that Newcastle will let 20 year-old striker Nile Ranger leave Newcastle, it can be a brutal business for youngsters trying to come though the ranks on Tyneside.
Newcastle have never had a particularly good record of bringing young players through, but that has to change, as its now one of Newcastle’s main strategies at the club.
Tavernier could well be the next youngster to come through big time at Newcastle, and as far as Ryan is concerned, the first thing he will be looking for is a new contract this summer at Newcastle.