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Young Newcastle winger leaves: “To play first-team football sometimes you have to go elsewhere”

10 months ago

Young Newcastle winger Alex Gilliead, now finds himself a free agent.

The 22 year old was maybe surprisingly not offered a new deal by Newcastle United and so is now available to sign for any club.

After being almost permanently out on loan these past three years, Gilliead has already played 120 matches for League One and League Two clubs – Bradford, Carlisle and Luton.

Obviously a big jump from there to Newcastle’s first team but he had shown promise and at the very least would have commanded some kind of transfer fee.

However, by not offering the winger a new deal, they won’t even get compensation when he signs up for a new club (The Chronicle reckon Rangers are interested), as per the following:

When a player under the age of 24 has been offered a new contract by his club, and he rejects that offer, in order to take up the opportunity to sign for another club, compensation will be payable.

The player himself indicates he wouldn’t have agreed to a contract extension if it had been offered, such an offer would have at least though guaranteed NUFC some compensation, Alex Gilliead saying that he felt there wasn’t a ‘clear path to play first team football’ at Newcastle United.

In the Championship you thought young players might have had more of a chance but Rafa Benitez preferred to go with experienced players for that challenge, Isaac Hayden  (who Rafa bought in) was really the only young player to get any number of games as Newcastle went up as champions.

Alex Gilliead:

“It will be a new chapter in my career.

“I have been at Newcastle for six or seven years now, so it’s quite a long time.

“It hasn’t worked out the way I wanted it to but these things happen and you just have to try to find your best option after that.

“I just didn’t see a pathway to the first team.

“I have been there a while and it felt like there wasn’t that clear path to play first team football and sometimes you have to go elsewhere.

“I have plenty of experience – over 100 games of league football on my CV.

“I know what it is like to play in the EFL and in a first team environment.

“I can imagine the Championship would be a step up because it’s more physical and tiring with more quality but it will stand me in good stead.

“If I do have to drop down a league, then the aim is still to get back to the Premier League wherever that may be.”


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