The young Newcastle stars beat Sunderland on penalties in the FA Youth Cup on Wednesday night to advance into the quarter-final and a home tie with Chelsea.
30 years ago this season it was Gazza who led the crop of 1985 to success, beating Watford 4-1 on aggregate in the final.
Ever since the beginning of the Premier League era, the conveyor belt of young Geordie talent has gradually slowed down. From Steve Watson and Lee Clark in the Keegan days to Steven Taylor and Andy Carroll in more recent times, the amount of local young players to feature in the first team for a sustained period of time is evidently lacking.
For years Newcastle’s academy was seen as third best amongst the North East’s top three but are times changing?
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Middlesbrough, who once had the likes of Adam Johnson and James Morrison feature in the first team and have gone on to have good Premier League careers, have not produced players of similar quality since. While the only players to come through the youth team of Sunderland in recent times, are Jordan Henderson and Jack Colback and of course we all love where Jack ended up.
Is it now time for Newcastle to be the showcase for local talent in the North East? Sammy Ameobi and Paul Dummett, now in their early twenties, have appeared on many occasions this season and these two alone can boast more home grown appearances in the league this season than Sunderland!
After a period of trying to recruit foreign youngsters, Newcastle have gone back to their roots and pledged to invest heavily to make sure the best talent in the North East come to them.
Adam Armstrong is one who has come back and forward between the first team and reserve team this season, Freddie Woodman is tipped to be a first teamer with the prospect of England on the cards, Rolando Aarons also looks to have a potential future with England if he can get over hamstring injuries. While Callum Roberts has received massive praise from Peter Beardsley about his potential, comparing his playing style to Lionel Messi (if only he was that good).
It is important that this type of players are introduced into the first team in the correct way, otherwise an Adam Campbell situation could arise. The pacy forward had huge potential but broken promises on loan deals have set his career a bit off track. Now with Gateshead, Adam is beginning to show some of that promise with 3 goals in 2 appearances.
Albeit these players may not be Gazza or Chris Waddle and set the world alight, but the class of 2015 with the right guidance and support. There’s no reason why they can’t follow in the footsteps of Steven Taylor, Paul Dummett and Sammy Ameobi, and go on to have good careers in the first team at Newcastle.