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Newcastle: James Troisi was a failed wonderkid at St. James’ Park

Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe has called upon young academy graduate Elliot Anderson in the Premier League so far this season.

The teenager was sent out on loan to Bristol Rovers in League Two last term and caught the eye with a string of impressive performances in midfield.

He racked up seven goals and six assists, creating eight ‘big chances’ for his teammates, in 20 starts in the second half of the campaign and his form was noticed by Howe.

The Toon head coach drafted the Scotland youth international into the first-team for the 2022/23 campaign and he has made five Premier League appearances so far, creating one ‘big chance’ in total whilst also making 1.4 tackles and interceptions per game.

It is now down to the 19-year-old to kick on and fulfil his potential by becoming a regular starter in the top flight, instead of stalling and failing to make the grade in the end, as many talented youngsters have done before him.

One former Newcastle wonderkid who was unable to take that next step in the senior squad was Australian attacking midfielder James Troisi.

He joined the club at the age of 15 in 2004 and caught the eye enough at youth level for the late Glenn Roeder to call him up to the first team to sit on the bench against Palermo in the UEFA Cup in 2006.

Speaking about what it was like at the time, the midfielder said: “There was a little bit of hype behind myself, Andy and Fraser at a young age travelling with the squad and being on the bench. You would walk around town and people would know you. It was a nice feeling. St James’ is unbelievable, but the fans are next level.”

The now-experienced Australian international also claimed that the likes of Shay Given, Nicky Butt, and Michael Owen called him “Messi” in training, comparing him to the legendary Lionel Messi – who was at Barcelona at the time.

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The Argentine magician broke into the Catalan giant’s first team during the years that Troisi was at St. James’ Park – 2004-2008 – and has gone on to win seven Ballon d’Or trophies while scoring 691 goals in his club career across all competitions since then.

Troisi’s career did not quite follow the same path, however, as he ended up failing to make a single senior appearance for Newcastle before leaving on a free transfer in 2008.

Kevin Keegan offered him a professional contract and a chance to finally prove himself with the Magpies but also offered him the option of leaving for nothing and having a fresh start at a new team, with the latter proving to be too tempting for the youngster.

The 34-year-old has gone on to play 320 career matches at club level and has scored 59 goals to date, whilst he has also found the back of the net five times in 37 caps for Australia. Now, he is playing in his native country, having joined Western United this year where he has made just one appearance to date.

Evidently, he failed to make the grade at Newcastle and never lived up to the Messi comparison, although that turned out to be near-on impossible. Anderson will be hoping that he can avoid that fate and go on to make a name for himself on Tyneside in the years to come.