Newcastle United have a number of up-and-coming young talents in their academy set-up who could make their way into Eddie Howe’s first team in the years to come.
Elliot Anderson has made the step up to the senior squad this season and a few of his former teammates at U21 level could follow in his footsteps.
When asked about players who could take the next step at St. James’ Park, journalist Pete O’Rourke told Football FanCast:
“One other name that I do know Howe was, I think, quite impressed with in pre-season was young left back (Matthew) Bondswell.
“(He) played a couple of pre-season matches and, I think, started over in the match against Porto. He looks like he’s probably got half a chance.”
The 20-year-old left-back joined the Magpies from RB Leipzig in 2021 and he could be Howe’s own version of Austria international David Alaba on Tyneside.
Indeed, Nottingham Forest reporter Sarah Clapham previously described Bondswell as a “highly-rated” talent and the Bundesliga website lavished praise on his attributes in the past by claiming that his “God-given athleticism, cultured left foot” and “malleability” made him Leipzig’s potential answer to then-Bayern Munich gem Alaba.
Like the now-Real Madrid talent, Bondswell is capable of playing at left-back and centre-back and this means that he is a versatile option for Howe to call upon in the future.
Alaba, who has won three Champions League titles and lifted the German top-flight ten times, has played 165 matches at the heart of the defence and 254 times as a left-back in his career, with the Bundesliga website indicating that the Newcastle man could go on to have a similar record in terms of his positioning.
Whilst Bondswell might not win multiple European titles with the Toon, although never say never, the 20-year-old Magpies gem has the potential to be a first-team player for the club in the future.
In the Premier League this season, Matt Targett is averaging 3.4 tackles and interceptions per match and has lost 54% of his individual battles, which provides an insight into the level needed to become the first-choice at left-back in the current team.
The youngster has shown enough promise to earn recognition at international level and caught the eye in Germany to earn comparisons to Alaba but it is now down to him to make the step up to the first team.
If he can successfully transition into playing regular senior football then Howe could have his own version of the versatile Real Madrid star on his hands for many years to come.