A Newcastle United statement has confirmed that highly-rated England U19 international Kelland Watts has signed a 3-year deal with the club.
The versatile 6ft 3′ defender, who hails from Alnwick, has been on loan with Stevenage this season and has already made 15 appearances for the League Two side.
He has been described as a centre half with an eye for goal, and this was reflected in his form for our U23 side last season, with him managing to score 6 times from defence.
This impressive form saw Rafa Benitez name him in the squad to face Fulham on the final day of the 2018/19 season. Although the 19-year-old didn’t come on that day, he featured in our pre-season clash with Wolves in China and has since been rewarded with a new deal:
After coming through the Magpies ranks originally as an attacking midfielder, Watts is now recognised naturally as a central defender, something which gives him extra composure on the ball and allows him to play out from the back.
This ability on the ball has seen him play as numerous positions for Stevenage so far this season, with Watts even being deployed in one fixture as a winger!
A contract extension is positive news for Toon fans, showing signs that perhaps more talent is being nurtured from our academy.
After the Longstaff brothers, Watts is among a group of young Mags that are thought to have a potential future at the club, with us having a little group of U-23’s who are showing promising signs behind the scenes.
One negative for Watts, however, is that he has some stiff competition in front of him if he wants to break into this Newcastle side.
Central defence is without question the strongest component of the current Newcastle side, with 6 experienced first-team options currently competing for 3 places in the starting line-up.
That said, Bruce may be keen to promote Watts and give him his opportunity in a black-and-white shirt, just as he did with Matty Longstaff, if he continues to impress at his loan spell with the Stevenage.