Joe White is determined to put a frustrating pre-season behind him in a push for first-team football. The midfielder suffered a knee injury during the U21s win over La Liga’s Elche but has recently returned in a bid to impress Eddie Howe.
In an interview with The Chronicle, the 19-year-old revealed he is still not fully fit but has returned for the U21s. He is also a part of the first-team setup and continues to train with the senior squad.
“I’ve been up there (first-team training) every day since I came back from injury. I am still not at full fitness. That was my first full game at Barnsley but for the last two weeks I have been up there most days. That further enhances my first-team chances.
“It happened in Spain in pre-season. I picked up a niggle and didn’t manage to get to Austria because of that. In Spain I tore my lateral meniscus. I did it before the Elche game but played through it, I didn’t think it was major so I had a scan when I came back and the scan came back and showed a tear.
“It was disappointing to start the season like that and that stopped the loans going through. Which obviously I wanted to do.”
White would have been one of the youngsters Howe brought to Austria for the training camp. He missed a golden opportunity to impress in pre-season; an opportunity that fellow teenager Elliot Anderson used to his full advantage.
Anderson is now fully ensconced with the first team having made his full debut in the Carabao Cup win at Tranmere. He has three impressive EPL cameos this season as well. That is where White wants to be in the future.
Like Anderson, Joe spent the second half of last season on loan in League Two. He made 16 appearances for Hartlepool with 3 assists. That experience has stoked a fire in him for more first-team football, whether on Tyneside or another loan.
“I don’t want to be playing Under-21s football anymore. Unfortunately, I did not manage to get on loan this season so these games are important for me to see where I am at and hopefully get out on loan in January.”
“I think after last season, playing first-team football at Hartlepool, in the second half of the season I enjoy the EFL Trophy nights. That’s all I want to do now. The initial aim is to get into Eddie Howe’s first-team squad. And I have got three months to improve as much as possible and play as well as I can.
“I need to be the best player on the pitch for the Under-21s in each game. I think I need to stand out in these games which will help in January.”
White will likely head back out on loan in January. With a compact schedule until the World Cup break in November, he may get a chance to make some matchday squads over the next couple of months.
The teenager, who signed from Carlisle in 2016, signed a new contract until 2025 in March. So Newcastle have faith he can progress into a first-team regular. The young midfielder certainly doesn’t lack the determination to make it on Tyneside.
He is also thrilled to be working closely with Howe, who he cites as the primary reason he committed his future to the club. This is what he said about training with the first team:
“You have to be totally switched on. You need to be switched on if you go up there. Eddie is the best really. He is the reason I signed the contract in January.
“He spoke to me a lot and he is a massive help to everybody. Everybody I speak to down here in the Under-21s and everybody I speak to up at the first-team. Especially the guys who have been with him the longest like Matt Ritchie with Bournemouth. They sing his praises but I have nothing but kind words to say about him.”
White has suffered a few injuries that have stalled his progress over the past few years. He continues to work hard and will hopefully get a loan move in January and be ready to fight for his place next summer.