Stunning transformation for sacked Newcastle Assistant Manager
Predictably Freddie Woodman and to a lesser extent, Adam Armstrong, made all the north east headlines regarding the World Cup win yesterday.
However, Sunday’s U20 World Cup final victory in South Korea was overseen by former Newcastle Assistant Manager Paul Simpson.
Appointed as Steve McClaren’s assistant at Newcastle on 3 July 2015, he was then sacked along with Steve McClaren in March 2016 after a disastrous eight months which had ensured relegation from the Premier League.
Whilst McClaren was somehow employed (and sacked) again by Derby County, Paul Simpson instead was chosen in only February this year to take over the running of England’s Under 20 squad.
The former Newcastle assistant acknowledged the work that had gone into the squad and preparation before his appointment only four months ago and said ‘To finish with a gold medal round my neck is a wonderful feeling’.
Paul Simpson believes that this World Cup triumph can give the young player confidence and certainly we can all hope that both Freddie Woodman and Adam Armstrong can use it to boost their chances at Newcastle.
Interesting to see Woodman being undisputed number one for England under Simpson, whilst Armstrong has had to settle for a lesser role in this tournament, Simpson having worked with both players when at Newcastle.
Freddie Woodman started six of the seven matches in South Korea and was only rested for what looked an easy group game against Guinea.
Meanwhile Adam Armstrong started three matches and came off the bench in one of the seven matches.
Whether this is a measure of how far each of the pair has progressed so far, or maybe just more competition in forward roles, who knows?
It would be great though to see any young player coming through from the younger age groups and ending up playing for Newcastle in the Premier League.
Something which would give all the young players at St James Park a boost, seeing that it is possible for young players to make it at the club, rather than just a case of bringing in first team players from elsewhere.
Paul Simpson talking to BBC Sport:
“We don’t need any more songs talking about 50 years of hurt.
“It is too early for that (to say whether this is a golden generation coming through for England), we could sit and make all sorts of bold statements.
“Let’s enjoy what we have done, it is a wonderful achievement from them. We are the world champions at under-20 level which isn’t easy.
“Let’s see what comes next and hope they continue to develop. We hope we can lead them and guide them through these next stages to get the football they need and they can go on to be successful.
“This will be an incredible experience for them to take forward whatever they go on to do.
“They will remember this for the rest of their lives and get confidence from this and hopefully the whole of the country can enjoy their achievements.
“There have been years of preparation and planning and I can’t believe I have been given the task to be head coach of this group to take through to the World Cup.
“To finish with a gold medal round my neck is a wonderful feeling.”
Actually, it is a bit of a surprise we haven’t heard from Steve McClaren just yet, claiming credit for the Under 20s World Cup triumph via his influence over Paul Simpson, or dating back to when he was England Manager 10 years ago…
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