It seems as though the revolution of our Youth Academy has begun, with 16-year-old Slovakian U17 Captain Lubomir Satka being the newest youngster added to the ranks.
It was reported earlier on in the season that owner Mike Ashley wasn’t overly impressed with the standard of talent in the academy so has backed a £15 million improvement drive with the aim of improving the quality of youngsters on our books.
The better prospects, such as Remie Streete, have been retained although fortune hasn’t smiled on a lot of the lads who are all looking for new clubs after being released by United. It’s a cruel part of the game and no doubt some of the kids that have been released have been with us for a few years, but ultimately if they are deemed not good enough for the future then why waste their time and ours?
The aim is to make our academy a place where young players want to come. With a visible path into the first team youngsters will know that as long as they impress and prove their ability on a consistent basis then they will edge closer to the first team picture.
Satka may just be the start of a new intake of players, and being fair most if them will probably not make it, but if we can drag even one or two from our own academy then surely it has to be an avenue that should be explored?
Lots of players will be turning up on Tyneside for trials, and lots of them will no doubt be unsuccessful, but what we need to do is ensure we retain the best ones and look to groom them for a future role in the first team.
Our academy has been pants for years in truth. Many players have been touted as the next best thing, but only a handful have ever made it through to the first team while the rest have disappeared into obscurity. That is something that has to change is Mike Ashley’s vision of “growing our own” is to ever come to fruition.
It starts now, and whilst it will be a long road for some of our youngsters, I for one am glad that we are now looking to get the best from our outstanding facilities at Little Benton.