Nathan Jones believes he is a Premier League player in waiting and says he would ‘love to’ sign Alex Gilliead permanently.
After missing pre-season with Luton Town and being used sparingly, the 20 year old Newcastle winger is now up to speed and was man of the match on Saturday as the Hatters drew 0-0 at Notts County.
Also representing England at various youth levels, Alex Gilliead has now played the last three League Two matches for Luton and is getting better all the time.
Having spent last season at Carlisle in a successful loan spell, Luton boss says that on Saturday Gilliead put in one of the best performances he has ever seen in League Two.
Luton Town are up to fourth in the table and the young Newcastle star has an initial loan agreed until January and as well as his delight at the player’s form, Nathan Jones says that he is sure that ‘Newcastle are delighted’ with Alex Gilliead’s progress.
It is one of those ironies that by dropping down to the Championship it gives young players, both homegrown and bought in, opportunities they almost certainly wouldn’t have been given.
Rolando Aarons was set to get a decent run of games only for injury to intervene and it will be interesting to see how Rafa Benitez handles him as he fights back to full fitness.
If Newcastle do bounce straight back to the Premier League, there’s little doubt they would they then be spending big to make sure they improve the squad and are as competitive as possible.
Where that leaves young up and coming players such as Alex Gilliead remains to be seen, though when you look at how many loan players the likes of Chelsea send out every season, no reason why Newcastle can’t do the same with players and progress them up through the divisions, as has happened with Adam Armstrong progressing from League One Coventry to Championship Barnsley.
Gilliead has now started each of Luton’s last three games after making the first 11 in just one of his first seven appearances.
Nathan Jones speaking to Bedfordshire on Sunday:
“It is a little bit early but we’d love to have him in our ranks permanently.
“That’s the type of player he is, that’s the type of player we look for.
“But no, let’s let the boy settle, let him continue his development and I’m sure Newcastle are delighted with how he’s playing and the performances he’s putting in.
“I believe he’s going to be a thoroughbred player, I believe he’s going to be a Premier League player. He’s kind of backing up my words.
“From Alex Gilliead it’s probably one of the best performances I’ve seen from a League Two player. Until he ran out of steam at the end I thought he was absolutely outstanding.
“He was impatient and wanted to play (earlier in the season) but he missed pre-season, so that’s why it has taken time to integrate him and pop him in, but that’s as good a performance from a League Two player as I’ve seen, in terms of how we went about it with real, real quality.
“We knew we’d get that type of performance from him and we’re delighted with him.
“It’s about development. There’s no point putting him in an environment that might not be as conducive as ours. We believe we’ve got a good environment here, we believe we give him a platform to play.
“Hopefully he enjoys training, he’s learning, he’s developing, because he’s going to be a fine young player, but that will come in time. There’s no rush.”