Newcastle United’s first team may be storming away with the Championship title, yet it is their youth side which is causing a stir in the north east.
The Newcastle United under 18 side are in a rich vein of form having not lost in their last nine matches and won an incredible seven games in a row away from home. This is enhanced further by the team being in the semi-finals of the FA Youth Cup. Newcastle United who currently sits third in the Under 18 Premier Academy League Group D are making big strides this season and it is causing some excitement amongst the fans.
Just before Newcastle United demolished Barnsley 6-1 in the Championship fixture, the Newcastle U18 side registered a 1-4 victory over their Yorkshire rivals at Oakwell stadium. Two goals from Scottish midfielder Brad Inman took his total to twelve this season. The playmaker midfielder is the clubs top goalscorer and is being lined up for more senior appearances. Striker Phil Airy picked up a goal and is impressing coaches at St James Park. Only a year ago the 18 year old was playing right back before switching to striker. Academy boss Kenny Wharton deserves some high praise indeed.
Reserve team coach Alan Thompson is playing his part also by allowing the best of the under 18’s play in the reserves. This is seen as vital in the development and growth of Newcastle United’s young players. Some have already stepped up to the mark. Nile Ranger has swiftly made his way through the Under 18 side and reserve squads to being a first team squad member. The England under 19 international was signed from Southampton by much maligned former chief scout Dennis Wise. He is tipped for a bright future. Furthermore the likes of Haris Vuckic and Tamas Kadar have been purchased and had first team experience. Vuckic in particular has impressed, at only the tender age of 17 he has had a Newcastle United first team appearance.
This area is something maybe we as Newcastle fans should grudgingly accept Mike Ashley has got right. The appointment of Dennis Wise was unpopular and did cause a stir with Kevin Keegan, but the ideology behind the appointment cannot be faulted. Newcastle United were aiming to sign young talented players from all over the world that could either reap large sell on prices or build a team capable of challenging for the very top. Whilst Newcastle have had to change the plan as we languish in football’s second tier in terms of buying capabilities and targets. The seeds that were planted over the past two years are beginning to grow.
There is a big leap between a good youth side and a good first team. That is pretty obvious, but Newcastle United fans have had little to sing about over the past few years, there is so much potential in the current crop of youngsters. Past winners of the FA Youth Cup include David Beckham, Paul Gascoigne, Ryan Giggs, Wayne Rooney, Theo Walcott and George Best. With a semi final place in the under 18’s premier competition, Newcastle United could have some real gems in their midst.
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