One of the biggest questions facing Rafa Benitez about our current Squad has to be the 19 year old Geordie striker – Adam Armstong. Scoring 20 goals in 40 games last season for Coventry when he went out on loan just shows that he knows where the goal is. Over recent seasons Newcastle have been dying for that sort of player up top that will guarantee you goals. But is including him in our squad the right time for him and his development?
He has shown at reserve, League One and England U19’s level that he can deliver when asked of him, but is the Championship just one step too soon? With Armstrong being such a young talent the last thing we want to do is have him sit on the bench week in, week out and not get any minutes.
For me, if Rafa is to include him in the squad for the season he has to be bringing him on or playing him so he can be learning and hopefully grab some goals at the same time. Anything less than this and I do believe being out on loan getting regular playing time is the best thing for him and Newcastle as he has so much potential to be a great Number 9 for the Toon.
If we look at the current Newcastle United squad I do not see any reason why he should not get be getting on for us. The strikers on our books at the moment consists of Mitrovic, Gayle, Perez and Riviere.
Having a look at these 4 players, in my opinion, our starting 2 have to be Mitrovic and Gayle – both top quality strikers and both will be out to prove a point this season. Perez has unquestionable passion and energy every single game he plays, he has scored some wonderful goals for us in the Black and White stripes, but one of the best things about his game is his versatility anywhere in the attacking third, so I think we will see him playing behind the strikers a lot more this season.
Finally, we come to Emmanuel Riviere, Armstrong would play and/or come on the pitch over Riviere every single time for me. Riviere has had 2 seasons to try and impress and has failed almost every single time. With only 1 league goal to his name in the 2 season who could really argue with me?
In our 2-2 draw with Doncaster on Wednesday night we saw Adam Armstrong start which shows Benitez is clearly taking him seriously, and so he should. I hope to see him be played again in our up and coming pre-season games and hopefully he will show enough for Benitez to consider him in his season’s plans. One or two injuries in the striker department and we could well see Armstrong in our starting line up. If we were still playing in the Premier League I would say it is a step too far. But with him tearing League One apart last season a step up to the Championship and coming on for Mitrovic, Gayle or Perez could really see him grow as a player and hopefully increase our goals tally.