North Shields-born 17 year-old Callum Roberts made his debut for Newcastle in the FA Cup at Leicester City earlier this year, and he was the second 17 year-old local lad to make his debut for the club in the last year, with Adam Armstrong making his debut at Fulham last February.
Callum Roberts yesterday with Carver and Beardsley
And it was good to see the news yesterday that Callum has just signed his first professional contract with Newcastle United.
Both Adam and Callum were born and bred in Newcastle, and they are two of the most promising youngsters to come through the club in a long time, with Roberts being compared to the great Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo – and that’s praise indeed.
If he turns out half as good as those two world-class players, the Geordie youngster will have a great career in football.
This is what Callum said after signing a three and a half year deal for his home town club:
“It’s only recently that I was in the stands at St. James’ Park as a supporter so to be playing here is a dream come true.”
“I’ve only made one appearance so far but now I’m hoping to make many more over the next few years and become more and more important to the team.”
Caretaker manager John Carver, who is now the head coach through the end of the season, added the following:
“As a Club, we’ve had a lot of success in terms of bringing players through lately and Callum is another who we have high hopes for.”
“He’s really stood out for the U-21s this season and he deserved to make his debut in the FA Cup earlier this month.”
“You don’t get too many out-and-out wingers like him these days and he’s started to add goals to his game too.
“He’s a local lad and we like him a lot, so we’re delighted that he’s signed this long-term contract and look forward to seeing how he develops.”
Roberts is currently on loan at Conference side Gateshead, but is still eligible for the Newcastle U-21 side and also U-18 games.
Newcastle seem to have a renewed emphasis on youth these days, with possibly three other teenagers being signed this month.
They are 18 year-old Englishman Dele Alli of MK Dons, and two Spanish youngsters – 18 year-old Racing Santander forward David Concha and 17 year-old center-back Jorge Mere of Sporting Gijon.
Newcastle like to sign young players of outstanding ability and groom them on Tyneside, and then after a year or two in the first team the plan would be to sell them to a bigger club at a huge profit.
That makes Newcastle’s financial figures look great – as we will see next month when the full financial statement is issued, with revenues just short of £130M and profits probably north of £40M – both records for the club – but it also does nothing for the team.
But nevertheless, with Roberts being signed and three top youngsters coming through the door in January – that’s still (very) good news.
What do you think?
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