Since Mike Ashley initiated his concentration on the Youth Academy, which was announced by then Chairman Chris Mort in January, 2008, we’ve been disappointed that we haven’t seen more young players come through and be part of the first team squad.
17 year-old Kevin Mbabu joined in January
And a lot of players we had high hopes for – like Tamas Kadar, Ben Tozer, Phil Airey and Ryan Donaldson = are no longer at the club, and other former promising players like Mehdi Abeid, James Tavernier and Brad Inman may leave Newcastle soon.
So the record is not too good, but Newcastle will be bringing in some top 17 and 18 year olds this summer, and the influx started with 17 year-old defender Kevin Mbabu in January.
Newcastle want to increase the standards of the Newcastle U21 side, and the plan is to recruit top teenagers to play in that league next season.
And when we suffered from so many injuries this season the youngsters who came in did not play well, and didn’t seem to be ready for first team football and now we have a number of them – like Sammy Ameobi, Shane Ferguson, Brad Inman, Conor Newton, Paul Dummett and Brad Inman out on loan to lower league clubs.
Willie Donachie runs the Newcastle U21 side, and he seems happy about the coming influx of new players:
“That’s the plan. The current lot are getting older and more experienced but we’ll be looking to strengthen it.” “It is exciting times really. We have a lot of good young players.”
“We have six out at the moment and most of them have played in major cup finals. And they’re getting Football League or SPL experience at first-team level.” “The Under-21 league isn’t seen as strong enough for those players to play in.”
“When you get to 20 or 21 you are too old anyway. We’ll be getting players who are 17 or 18 that are good enough for the Under-21 league.”
The Newcastle scouting system under Graham Carr has done very well, but one area we need improvement in is recognizing top young teenage talent – and we have not been too successful at that over the last five years or so.
What do you think?
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org