Longtime Newcastle goalkeeper Steve Harper has been named as a Newcastle first team coach this afternoon. He joins Steve Clemence and Steve Agnew as part of Steve Bruce’s staff – we sense a theme here.
Harper’s role will also see him serve as a link between the first team and the Academy staff. Steve recently left the Newcastle under-23 staff, where he served as a goalkeeping coach in May to concentrate on his role with the Northern Ireland national team.
He will remain with Northern Ireland as a goalkeeping coach when they compete in the Euro 2020 qualification playoffs in March.
This is what Harper had to say about his most recent adventure with Newcastle:
“I’m looking forward to it. The manager said to me he’d like me to come in with a role around the first team, but more than just that.
“I’ll officially be a first team coach, but with a conduit for keeping an eye on, and almost as a link to, the under-23s, who I worked with last season, and the Academy where I’ve worked in various capacities over the last three years.
“So it made sense, and I’m looking forward to getting started.”
When Neil Redfearn resigned as Newcastle’s under-23 manager earlier this month, it was reported that Steve Bruce wanted the link between the Academy and the first team to be closer.
Referenced in the reports was how Steve Bruce and assistant Steve Clemence worked at Hull City, where Clemence was the reserves manager. It appears that Newcastle are starting to put in steps to fulfill Bruce’s vision for the Academy with the hiring of Steve Harper.
This is what Bruce had to say about Harper’s new role with Newcastle:
“Since I came through the door, I have had a big interest in what our Academy is producing. With the difficulty of being on two sites, I think it’s vitally important that we have a link between the two and certainly, Steve Harper will give us a better link.
“He’s somebody who I had the pleasure of managing, he’s went on to do his coaching badges, and he’s one of that ‘young brigade’ who can do a little bit of coaching, but just as importantly, will give us a stronger bridge in between the first team and the Academy.”
It appears to us that Steve Bruce is getting more say in the future direction of Newcastle. His vision for a stronger link between the first team and the Academy could be a vital first step in Newcastle bringing through more youngsters at the club.
There is also talk that Bruce is pushing for the January signing of Hull City’s Jarrod Bowen. If Bruce can get Newcastle to cough up between £15-20m for exciting forward, that would be an even bigger indication that the club has faith in Bruce.
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