Relegation complicates Adam Armstrong situation for Rafa Benitez
Failure to stay in the Premier League has had many consequences for Newcastle United and just one of them is that it has left Rafa Benitez with a dilemma on Adam Armstrong.
The Geordie striker is currently working off an injury that has prevented him travelling to Germany for the finals of the Under 19 European Championships, leaving keeper Freddie Woodman as Newcastle’s only representative with England.
However, Adam Armstrong is set to be ready for the start of the season, no matter which club he is at…
Rafa says that it is always difficult with young players and his preference is to bring local players through, just so long as they are good enough.
The Newcastle boss is going to judge Adam Armstrong in pre-season once he shakes off this injury, then decide whether to keep or loan him out.
After scoring 20 goals in League One last season, then surely the natural progression would have been to then go out on loan to a Championship side this season – the problem being that Newcastle’s relegation has also put them in the second tier too.
Signing Dwight Gayle simply confirms that even if Rafa Benitez kept Armstrong at Newcastle this season, he will be on the bench at best.
However, I just can’t really see Newcastle sending the Geordie striker out to another Championship club, with the then possibility, no matter how small, of United struggling whilst Armstrong is hammering in the goals at a rival club.
My money would be on a halfway house, with Adam Armstrong sent out to League One, potentially Coventry again, until January and then Rafa to assess the situation again.
“With him (Adam Armstrong), we have a problem – it’s a good problem.
“We don’t have too much time to see how he is, because he is still only running at the moment.
“It’s always difficult with the competition, especially when you are a young player – for me, as a manager, if you ask me what do you prefer?
“I prefer local players but they have to be good enough to compete at the maximum level. The top sides have the best academies, but still they need to bring in foreign players.
“The main thing is to give him the opportunity to show his level. If we think the best thing is to send him away to keep developing, then we will do that.
“He’s running, coming back from his injury. Obviously, I know he had a great, great season (20 goals at Coventry). I was talking with him afterwards.
“Now we have to wait and see how he is in pre-season.”
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