Look back at any statement that has been made regarding the future of Newcastle United, and you’ll see that youth development features heavily in pretty much all of them.
It’s a clear strategy from the club. We’ll try and produce our own players to go along with the more experienced players, all of whom will have been specifically sourced to fit a number of criteria.
Bolstering our youth setup is a good move and it’s something that every Premier League club should be doing in my opinion. It will ensure that the future of the game is in safe hands as the next generation of young players actually get a chance to perform on the big stage. Unfortunately though I feel that it may be a pipe dream in the pressure cooker environment that is the Premier League.
The emphasis is on results, of that there is little doubt. Just take a look at Wigan as the example of that, or Blackpool from last season, or even Arsenal and their trophyless run. Pretty football, but where has it inevitably got them?
To me this is why the youth are facing an uphill struggle to make an impact. Why would a manager risk a result by playing a rookie when he can just call in an experienced player? I’m talking generally here although obviously there are exceptions.
Some will say that if you’re good enough then you’re old enough. This is fair enough and it’s true to a point, but it works in certain special cases. Not every youngster can come in and impress and sometimes they need to learn the ropes slowly before getting a taste of the big time.
Just looking at our own squad for a moment. We have an array of youngsters who are tipped to make the grade and become first team players, but we’ve been saying that for a while now and still nothing has come to fruition when it comes to the products of our youth academy.
Now there is talk of loaning some of the highly rated youngsters out, with Alan Pardew suggesting that Shane Ferguson, Haris Vuckic and Mehdi Abeid could be set for a spell in the Championship. Apparently they are “too good to have hanging around” which makes me wonder just why this is the case?
I mean if they are too good to have hanging around is that not an indication that there is little space for them to grow and learn and play in the first team at Newcastle?
I’m just trying to think where some of these kids are going to fit in. Shane Ferguson is an easy one as he can play left-back or left-wing and has already shown that he can hold his own in the first team. What about Haris Vuckic and Mehdi Abeid though? Where do they fit into the equation?
The two buddies, Vuckic and Abeid, are very very good players and could be real assets to us. The problem is when to give them their chance. Look at what they have to dislodge just to get a look in – Cheik Tiote, Yohan Cabaye, Hatem Ben Arfa, Danny Guthrie and now seemingly Dan Gosling.There is a brick wall of talent standing in the way of our young lads progressing.
They’ve all had their chances in isolation, but can you really see any of them dislodging some of the more senior players? I can’t.
Mind you if there is one thing that they have it’s time. Sammy is is only 19, as is Haris and Mehdi while Shane is slightly more senior at the age of the 20. God I feel old all of a sudden. Who knows what will happen in the future and they may well get their respective chances to nail down a first team place.
I just can’t see it happening anytime soon unfortunately.