Newcastle signed Olivier Kemen from FC Metz in July, 2013 on a two year deal, and at the time he was a very highly rated youngster in France, and it was a week before his 17th birthday.
Olivier Kemen – 18 year-old Newcastle central midfielder
Fast forward 20 months and 18 year-old Olivier is doing extremely well on Tyneside, and last month there was news he was training with the first team squad.
The young central midfielder has been interviewed today in the Chronicle and this is some of what he said:
“At the beginning it was a dream.” “Now though I see how people train and I see how they work.” “I just have to keep working and when the chance comes I have to respond with the right enthusiasm.”
“I’m not scared – I just bide my time.” “I like to run with the ball and show what I can do to get to the next level.” “I will keep doing that until they call me up.”
“It’s not just about French players at Newcastle.” “In the first team you have many players like Fabricio Coloccini or Tim Krul.” “They are players who have been here a long time.”
“Newcastle United have become more famous in France now because a lot of players from Ligue 1 are here.” “Newcastle are watched more.” “The Premier League is the best league in the world.”
It’s getting to be a vital time in his development, and maybe Olivier needs to go out on a loan spell – maybe next season to a lower league club?
And most of the onus of bringing young Olivier through to the first team is on Peter Beardsley, Newcastle’s Development manager, with the help of course from the head coach – and at the moment that’s John Carver.
This is what Beardsley has said about the 5’9″ tall midfielder:
“He’s a powerful lad and obviously has ability.” “We look at the other side of it and he has to learn to get the ball back.” “When he runs with the ball he looks like a proper player.”
The truth is that since Mike Ashley put an emphasis on the youngster starting in January of 2008, Newcastle haven’t been too successful in bringing many youngsters through to be first team players.
But at the moment we seem to have a fair number of good ones coming through the ranks.
Sammy Ameobi at 22 is hoping to get a new deal in the summer before his contract runs out, and Rolando Aarons was sensational in pre-season and early in the season, but the 19 year-old has struggled with injuries.
Local lads Adam Armstrong and Callum Roberts look like players who could make the first team at their local club, and we have a fine young goalkeeper in 18 year-old Freddie Woodman, and they are coming through well.
And Mehdi Abeid has a decent chance of becoming a first team player at Newcastle, as he continues to learn his trade, and has made some good appearances for the first team this season after being outstanding in Greece last season for Panathinaikos.
So it could be that Newcastle will get a bunch of players fighting for a first team position soon at the club, and one of those could well be Olivier Kemen.
What do you think?
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