A real marker of exactly where Newcastle United are currently at, is maybe best illustrated by the club’s performances against one particular opposition.

I’m not just talking about the first team either, the games below that tell the fuller story.

In the last two months, teams representing Newcastle United have played those representing Manchester United and it doesn’t make pleasant reading.

Six times the two clubs have met and the scores on the doors read – played six, lost six, goals for 5 and goals against 21.

Our first team have of course lost 3-0 at St.James’ Park and 2-1 at Old Trafford in the Capital One Cup.

The reserves have gone done 4-2 and 2-1 (last night).

Whilst the Under 18s have suffered even more, with 3-0 and 7-1 reversals.

This isn’t meant to be a doom and gloom piece, more a reality check.

Yes Manchester United are the top club and i wouldn’t expect Newcastle to have won all six matches against them but it does suggest that at every level we are a long way behind.

I listen to some supporters talking about young promising players on the edge of the first team but if I’m being harsh I don’t see any superstars. You look at Liverpool’s 17 year old Sterling and he is one of their best players, which isn’t that difficult at the moment admittedly. Players such as Ferguson, Sammy Ameobi, Tavernier and others have passed their twentieth birthday and never looked like forcing Alan Pardew to play them, as is the case with Sterling.

I really hope they do progress and become reliable squad players but they aren’t going to be the key figures in our team of the future.

Newcastle’s short/medium and probably long-term future is almost certain to depend on our dealings in the transfer market and that is why it was a massive blow when (current multiple awards ‘Manager of the year’) Alan Pardew wasn’t backed in the transfer market in the summer. He knew the squad wasn’t strong enough and we desperately needed Debuchy, Douglas and whoever else.

It would be brilliant if any of our kids, who are at whatever stage of their development now, came through into the first team and stayed there.

We saw on Sunday that throwing Shane Ferguson into a match like that is never an ideal situation, he simply had to play because our squad is so lacking in any depth. The likes of Marveaux getting on the bench just to fill a tracksuit.

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