Mason Bennett will not turn 17 until next month, yet he has already played 17 times with one goal for Derby County, his home town club, and this lad looks to be a future star if ever we saw one, and his rise in football at a young age is not dissimilar to that of James Milner and Wayne Rooney.
Mason Bennet – an old-looking 16 year old but fantastic prospect
Newcastle are credited with being after his Derby team-mate Will Hughes, who’s another outstanding young Englishman at Derby, although the fee for Will is said to be £10M – and it will be a lot less for Bennett – but not for long.
Mason Bennett is a forward and his form as a 16 year-old is not unlike that of former Newcastle winger James Milner, who made his debut for Leeds United at the young age of 16 years and 309 days.
This lad has done even better, and he holds the record as Derby County’s youngest-ever player, and made his debut with a start against Middlesbrough in October 2011 at the age of 15 years and 99 days old – only three months after turning 15!
And Bennett also holds the record of Derby County’s youngest ever goal scorer, when he scored against Tranmere Rovers in the 3rd round of the FA Cup last January, when he was 16 years and 174 days old.
Bobby Robson singed James Milner in 2004 for £4M from Leeds United when he was just 18, and it was at the same time we signed 18 year-old Charles N’Zogbia from Le Havre.
And James went on to play 109 times with 12 goals for Newcastle before being sold for £12M to Aston Villa in August of 2008, just before Kevin Keegan resigned.
N’Zogbia played 155 times for Newcastle with 9 goals, before moving to Wigan in January, 2009 for £6M plus Ryan Taylor coming the other way.
And since Mike Ashley bought Newcastle six years ago, we’ve brought in top youngsters who just didn’t make it – that latest being 20 year-old French Algerian Mehdi Abeid, who will leave the club this summer.
Newcastle have not had a good record of signing youngsters who come through big time at the Tyneside club – and it’s always very difficult to judge just which top youngsters will eventually become the top stars of the future.
But Bennett looks like an outstanding prospect to say the least, and his transfer fee will only rise as he plays more games for Derby County.
Mason has played twice for the England U16 side and 16 times for the England U17 side, and if this lad is as good as we think he is his star will rise quickly next season, which is why the summer may be a good time to buy him.
It will be interesting to see whether Graham Carr has been scouting this lad, but it would be hard to not know about Mason Bennett, if Newcastle are indeed after his team-mate, 18 year-old Will Hughes.
Maybe a double swoop for two young Englishmen this summer?
What do you think?
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org