I wasn’t one of the mad 66 who made their way to Grimsby last night.

I do get along to watch the reserves when I can but a Tuesday night in Grimsby didn’t impress the wife when I was asking her what she fancied doing on one of her nights off work.

I have read a few reports on last night’s Checkatrade Trophy win and I was pleased obviously to see the team progress as group winners with a 3-2 victory.

Also great to see Elias Sorensen getting his 15th goal of the season for the second string, early days yet but always impressed when I see him play, as even when he’s not having a great match, if he gets a chance then he invariably puts it away.

Last night the 19 year old Dane scored one and made one. Callum Roberts did the same.

The 21 year old winger is somebody who has really come on this season in the matches I have seen.

Nobody pretends it is easy to step up from the reserves to the Premier League but I do think he is somebody who Rafa Benitez should be looking at.

Not to catapult straight into the first eleven of course but I do think he should be in contention these days for a space on the bench.

This season I think Callum Roberts has gone up a couple of levels and especially when it comes to doing it at the sharp end.

He is looking really dangerous and as well as creating a lot of goals, for Elias Sorensen in particular, Roberts has nine goals of his own, not bad going for a winger/attacking midfielder and we are only a few months into the season.

He has scored in six of the last seven matches and is getting stronger and stronger, he turns 22 in April with his contract ending in June, I think the penny has dropped that he has to do it now.

Callum Roberts has never played a minute under Rafa Benitez and his only first team appearance was as a sub when 17, back in 2015 against Leicester in the FA Cup.

To be honest, Atsu and Murphy have shown absolutely nothing this season and I honestly don’t see how Callum Roberts would weaken the bench if he replaced one or the other, or both.

Rafa Benitez often subs the likes of Kenedy and Ritchie late in games and Callum Roberts would give the team energy and a willingness to carry the ball, as well as potentially having the end product that Murphy and Atsu are missing.

I might be wrong but I bet that if either Murphy or Atsu had played instead of Roberts in the reserves this season, neither of them would have got anything like the nine goals and many assists that the 21 year old has got.

By giving somebody like Callum Roberts a chance, Rafa Benitez would also be further encouraging/inspiring the entire younger age group, who would see a chance opening up if they progress as well.

I think it is a win win situation for Rafa if he gives the winger a promotion.

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  • Themoscow72

    Yes Newcastle have beaten Doncaster, Grimsby and Notts County one of whom is a team on par with Sunderland. People on here tell me our academy is useless. Well the two Longstaff brothers, Roberts and the Dane who cannot stop scoring will all make a good living out the game. We have all ready produced Woodman a keeper with England and Adam Armstrong is doing well. So much for not producing any players.

    • Wor Lass

      I like your optimism and support for the youngsters and they are going well. You`re missing the point (deliberately, I assume) about the quality of players produced by the academy, though. It`s first team players we want to see not journeymen. With all the talent in the NE we shoukd be feeding through some first team players.

      • Themoscow72

        I watch the juniors and when we played Chelsea they beat us in the quarter and semi finals. They have won the cup the last five seasons. How many break into the first team none. They have a staggering 29 players out on loan this season. The Lonstaff brothers will both make it but sadly perhaps in the Championship as cannot see Rafa giving them a chance long term.

        • DeadToiler

          Yeah that’s part of the problem, Rafa is too conservative at times

          • Virsino

            Seriously, if any of juniors/academy players only ever make it in the championship, of course, that’s Rafa’s fault!

        • Wor Lass

          I take your point but it doesn`t undermine what I`m saying. Chelsea have such good youngsters because they buy them in from all over the globe but they also do that with their first team squad so few, if any, of those youngsters make it through. I assume the benefit the club perceives is that they can sell them on for decent fees to offset the transfer costs for the first team. We don`t pay out even half decent amounts on transfers so we really need to identify and develop local talent to first team level. We also aren`t pulling in massive amounts for the young players we move on. I don`t see why you would want to object to me saying that.

    • JohnnyH

      That’s 6 players by your own calculations, that have been ‘produced’ but none of whom are good enough to earn a first team place.
      In how many years?
      Nuff said monk

  • NUFCDan

    Not writing him off as he’s still young but Adam Armstrong did very well at League 1 level and struggled in the Championship. So it was wildly optimistic from people at the time calling him for him to be promoted to the first team.

  • Rich Lawson

    Roberts and Sorensen to train with the 1st team thru the break and loose Hoss and Atsu from the bench for Burnley.