Wayne Rooney has given Adam Armstrong a lift in the past week and it has had an instant impact.
The England Under 18s played Switzerland in a double header the last few day and in the lead up to the first game, Rooney gave the team an impromptu team-talk.
After talking to the players as a group, Adam Armstrong got Wayne Rooney alone, grabbing the opportunity to ask the England Captain for guidance.
Armstrong then scored the only goal of the game as England beat Switzerland 1-0, before Saturday brought another two stunning goals in a 6-1 demolition of the Swiss Under 18s.
Talking to the Official FA website, Adam Armstrong related that conversation with Wayne Rooney:
“I played against him (Wayne Rooney) at Old Trafford, and he said he liked the way that I always got across the defenders.
“He said that the Manchester United team had watched me in the clips before the game (Newcastle lost 3-1 on Boxing Day), it was a massive confidence booster for me to have someone like that say that.”
One on one with Wayne Rooney:
“He came into our meeting and answered questions from all the lads and then I managed to speak with him one-on-one.
“The lads were all getting photos with him and I just stayed behind after that, and the manager Neil Dewsnip asked if I could ask him a few questions about my game.
“I asked him what I can do for myself to improve as I try to play in the same way as him.
“He gave me loads of tips and advice, which is an unbelievable experience for me. Being such a young lad playing in the first-team, he told me that I always need to have confidence when I play and never be afraid to get my shots off.
“As a striker, he just said that I always need to have the belief to go again if it wasn’t happening for me and the only way to reach the top level is to continue working hard every day.”
“It might sound daft, but I’ve still got his poster on my bedroom door at home, so it was just class.”
Anybody want to be Captain?:
“He (the manager) had asked in the meeting if anyone wanted to be captain, and I was straight up and let him know that I wanted it and I’m honoured he gave me it.
“I’ve captained Newcastle in the Youth Cup, but this was amazing. It’s a special feeling leading out your country.”
“Do I feel like a leader? I would say so. With me being in Newcastle’s first-team, every day I’m gaining more and more experience.
“On matchdays I see how our captain Fabricio Coloccini speaks and acts around the dressing-room – that has helped me understand what I needed to do before the game.
“All my family are mad England fans, it’s always mental in the house whenever there’s a World Cup or the Euros are on.
“So for them to see me captain an England side is not just amazing for me, it’s amazing for them too.”
Scoring two against Switzerland in Saturday’s 6-1 win:
“The first one Tammy Abraham drilled it in towards me and I’ve flicked it up and hit it on the half-volley into the top corner.
“I definitely meant it too, the ball came at me so hard, I knew I couldn’t take it first time. Luckily it was a good touch.
“And I’m really pleased about the second. I have told all my team-mates at Newcastle to not let me take free-kicks anymore – I’ve been useless at them!
“But I won the kick and thought that I may as well have a go. As soon as I hit it I knew it was going in.
“Neil (the manager)told me at half-time that I had three minutes to get my third before I was going to be subbed off.
“The lads were all laughing, and I was running around like mad to try and get it. It didn’t quite happen, but that doesn’t stop it from being a special day and a fantastic 6-1 win. I’ll never forget these last few days.”
Just because you mingle with quality players such as Wayne Rooney, doesn’t necessarily mean you will get anywhere near their quality.
However, I do get the feeling that Adam Armstrong definitely has those vital ingredients of great character and an eagerness to learn, alongside a brilliant work ethic.
It doesn’t guarantee that he will come through and be a first team regular at Newcastle or even better, a legendary number nine.
However, he does stand out as having a lot more about him than some other up and coming future stars that United have had in the past.
He has an excellent goalscoring record at all levels for England so far and now maybe he should be given a run in the Newcastle first team, especially in the absence of Papiss Cisse until the final three games.
Wayne Rooney is a high standard to aim at but he burst into first team football at the age of 16 and never looked back.
This may well be an ideal chance for the 18 year old Geordie striker, because we all hope that Newcastle will invest serious money in the summer on strikers, and Armstrong needs to lay down a marker now that he could be the future of NUFC.
An ideal for me would be two credible strikers brought in this summer, who can make up a four strong attacking department with Papiss Cisse and Adam Armstrong making up the quartet.