In the absence of any new first team players or indeed coaches, on his first day working with the Newcastle squad, Steve McClaren had to be content with being photographed alongside four young Newcastle players who have signed their first professional contracts with United.

The quartet were offered deals in March and defenders Jamie Sterry & Macaulay Gillesphey, as well as midfielder Liam Smith and forward Tom Heardman, signed those contracts earlier this week.

None of the four have made any appearances for the first team and all will turn 20 years of age by the end of November.

Good luck to them all and I just hope that they aren’t been kept on simply to fill a shirt, which appears to have been the case in recent years, when Mike Ashley has failed to invest in the squad and kept players at the club far longer than was healthy for both them and Newcastle United.

Countless young players have been kept on at Newcastle United and then very rarely, if ever, being involved with the first team.

The likes of Haris Vuckic, Shane Ferguson, Adam Campbell, Jonathyn Quinn, Michael Richardson, James Tavernier and Remie Streete have seen their careers totally stall, or not even get off the ground at all at United.

In addition to the four 19 year olds, there are also six players who have signed third year scholarships; goalkeeper Brendan Pearson, as well as defenders Jamie Cobain, Kyle Cameron, Liam Gibson, Adam Laidler and Callum Williams.