The news from Merseyside is that Everton have made one of Newcastle’s rising young stars a top priority summer signing.

As well as major investment in established older players, the Toffees are also looking to further strengthen with younger players.

Their youth set-up has an outstanding record and Everton repeatedly give promising youngsters first team football at a young age.

Tom Davies was 17 when first playing Premier League football and still only 18, has made 21 PL appearances this season. Numerous others such as Mason Holegate and Ademola Lookman have been given first team football before reaching the age of 20.

The Liverpool Echo say that Ronald Koeman and his Director of Football Steve Walsh are looking at an ‘aggressive recruitment drive of players aged 16-18’ this summer and that Newcastle United’s Lewis Gibson ‘is a central part of his plans’.

Already getting rave reviews at Newcastle under first team level, Lewis Gibson turns 17 in July and has also been making waves in the England set-up.

He is currently away with the national side as England compete in the Under 17s European Championship Finals in Croatia, with group games against Holland, Ukraine and Norway starting tomorrow (Thursday).

Last month saw widespread reports that a number of clubs including Arsenal and the two Manchester clubs are also looking to bid for Lewis Gibson this summer.

March saw the young Newcastle defender score his first goal for England, the winner against Bosnia & Herzegovina in the final qualifying match for these European Championship Finals. He also played in the outstanding 8-1 win over Germany last year for the Young Lions.

The left-footed local lad is from Stanley and has followed older brother Liam into the Newcastle United set-up, though neither have appeared for the first team as yet.

Sibling Liam Gibson, who is also at Newcastle, turns 20 next month (April 2017) managed one Premier League appearance on the bench 13 months ago, when Steve McClaren had a number of defenders out through injury.

The youth set-up at Newcastle has been a massive disappointment down the years and it can’t all have been down to the quality of player at their disposal.

Fans have long expressed concern at the level of coaching below first team level and the inability to develop players, to improve them to a level where they can compete for the first team.

This hasn’t been helped by managers such as Alan Pardew, who failed to give real opportunities to younger players, tending only to give them games in the cup competitions which he and Mike Ashley were so keen to get out of at the earliest opportunity.

Rafa Benitez has been landed with an entire club to sort out from top to bottom and years and years of neglect were never going to be sorted overnight.

So you can sympathise with him going almost entirely for experienced players in this season’s vital quest for Premier League football at the earliest opportunity.

The fact remains though that young players at Newcastle will still see little chance of progressing, with once again only the cup matches having a few younger players given the odd game, in matches which Rafa clearly saw as an unnecessary distraction to the league campaign.

Lewis Gibson sees his older brother turn 20 in April without getting any kind of a chance and when you see 18 year olds at clubs like Everton getting a run of games, it emphasises how badly Newcastle have failed over the years.

The home game against Fulham saw 16 year old Ryan Sessegnon take Vurnon Anita and Newcastle to the cleaners with two excellent goals and a superb overall performance.

Rafa can’t let himself be distracted from the job in hand but if Newcastle are to convince the Lewis Gibsons that their future is at Newcastle United, then hopefully we will see youth given its chance in the coming seasons.

To lose such a promising player would be a body blow for Rafa Benitez but hopefully the likes of Lewis Gibson will be convinced that at last things are changing for the better at St James Park.

  • Carlo Ancelotti

    the youth setup is a disgrace & the whole coaching staff should be replaced, it`s been going on for years & it needs sorting in the summer

    • bobbi fleckman

      Is it? we seem to have some quality coming through but our big problem recently is getting players in the first team. It’s easier to get yoof into a side sitting 8th in the premier league rather than a team at a very strong risk of relegation. This is a problem for all clubs not just Newcastle United but Everton have been fortunate in being the best of the alsorans and they can (& to their credit, have) blooded young players.

      Walsh was a coup for them, Walsh nabbed Kante from ourself and Arsenal’s clutches as well as mahrez also bringing in Knockaert who failed at Leicester but the best player at Brighton who haven’t done badly.

    • Andy Mac

      Some context here.

      Given that we failed to achieve academy status first time around when near neighbours Makems/Boro breezed through the tests, I’d say we are pretty shlte. Dont know if its common knowledge but the Boro academy team qualified for Europe a couple of seasons back with pretty much a home grown squad. Played in the UEFA Youth League against PSG, Torino and Dynamo Kiev while our lads were strutting their stuff in the Youth Cup losing to AFC Wimbledon.

  • Porciestreet

    If the lad is so good, why the hell do we need to sell……? Isn’t it about time Newcastle United started to BE Newcastle United ..sod everyone else.

    • bobbi fleckman

      When we announce that we are making do with our centre halfs on the basis of bringing Gibson in, I’ll remind you of this post.

      • Damon Horner

        you can feel the Mike Ashley agenda bubbling if this one surfaced.

  • hetonmag

    Given time Rafa will sort the youth system out at the club because it has been neglected for to long, agree with with Carlo below I would like to see a clean sweep of the coaching staff and get some new blood in place maybe move Pedro upstairs in place of Moncur.

  • Vaz5

    We need proper scouts at youth level,also at non league level ‘leave Rafa to sort the lower leagues and foreign imports,easy?

  • MadMag83

    IF the club do decide to sell, then at least include a buy back option. That way the lad might get games at Everton and if he develops well then we can buy him back.

    • Viru leckworth

      Can’t see Everton agreeing to that.

      • MadMag83

        No deal then.

  • Wor Lass

    It`s a disgrace that in a region that has produced so many good players we have had so few Geordies in the first team. Mind you, when we do they`re often slated worse than the cockneys and foreigners. Look at what Dummy`s had to put up with.

    • edward alderson

      spot on, and dummy is not a bad full back as some of the clever s**** on here think

  • Jimblag23

    If he’s got serious promise I doubt Rafa would let him go, unless of course Rafas not thinking long term anymore.

  • Mark Scott

    Probably got more of a chance of developing properly and getting a sniff of first team action there than he does here given our track record. Shame to see youngsters leave but I couldn’t blame them for seeing a better opportunity elsewhere.