Callum Roberts has opened up about the moment he was told he had no future at Newcastle United following his surprise move to Blyth Spartans.
The 22-year-old signed a contract with National League North side Blyth Spartans last week – a huge coup for manager Lee Clark given he was being tracked by several League One sides following his release over the summer.
Roberts has scored 9 goals in 9 games for Blyth (included TWO hat-tricks), but his form at U-23 level was impressive last season. He weighed in with 13 goals and 9 assists at reserve level, also scoring during his one start for the senior side in a FA Cup win at Blackburn.
As a result, he’s admitted in an interview with The Chronicle that he was ‘shocked’ to be released over the summer. Here’s what he’s had to say:
“Newcastle made me the player and person that I am. I don’t hold any bad feelings to them for letting us go when I thought they shouldn’t have. I don’t hold grudges with anyone.
“I played with some great players and have been coached by some great managers over the years. I’ve had great relationships with everyone I’ve worked with. I couldn’t say anything bad about the club to be honest.”
“It was a weird one, I thought I had the best season of my career.
“I scored a number of goals in the U23s, I got a number of assists and scored for the first team. I made the bench twice in the Premier League which I’d never done before. I was going into this meeting confident.
“When he told us I was not going to get a contract, I was in shock. I didn’t know what to say.”
“I never thought about playing for anybody else. Newcastle was always the team I’d wanted to play for.
“Everybody in the city wants to do what you do. When that was taken away, I was shell-shocked.
His form at U-23 level was impressive and he did score during his one senior appearance last season, but perhaps the club felt he hadn’t shown enough at 22. After all, are you a ‘youngster’ anymore when you’re the same age as Allan Saint-Maximin – a first-team regular who we’ve just forked out £16m to sign.
Roberts then spoke about the difficult period after his release. He seems extremely happy at Blyth and grateful for the opportunity, but insists that he still has Premier League ambitions:
“It was quite a hard time and I didn’t want to think about or play football because it was such a big blow.”
“It was probably the worst time I’ve been through, I was starting to think nothing was going to come up. You just keep thinking is this game really for me? “
“I wanted to play at the highest level I could, I hadn’t thought about dropping down.
“When I first came it was good, and the reception I got when I signed the contract made us feel special and part of the club.
“I’ve never felt like this at a club before, you feel like you’re wanted there and happy. I’ve never been happier at a football club than I am at the minute.”
“I set my standards very high, and I always want to better myself. The aim is still to play in the Premier League.
“At the minute I’m very happy playing at Blyth, but the club and the gaffer knows I want to play at the highest level.”
Good luck to Callum.
It was a slight surprise to see him released given he’d just enjoyed his best season at U-23 level and scored in his one and only appearance at senior level, but perhaps the move away will be a blessing in disguise.
If he continues to score at a rapid rate for Blyth, a Football League side is bound to snap him up before long – and you never know where that could then take him.