According to former teammate Mark Hughes, Newcastle talent Dan Barlaser has got what it takes to become a “top, top Premier League player”.
Hughes played alongside the Gateshead-born midfielder during his loan spell with Accrington in 2017/18 and believes the “unbelievable” 23-year-old could make a big impact on his return to Tyneside following claims he’ll be promoted to the senior squad.
Here’s what Hughes has told Tribal Football when asked if Barlaser has the tools to take his big chance at Premier League level this summer:
“100 per cent. He has a great personality and he is very technical, unbelievable technical ability.
“Every day in training you’d say to yourself, how have Accrington got him! Why isn’t he closer up the leagues!
“The more games we played you could sort of see why in terms maybe his off the ball, the tackling. His ability on the ball is Premier League standards but sometimes he maybe thought it was too easy, that U23’s mentality in terms of wanting to play at his own pace and chewing the ball a little bit.
“That was at the start, but I watched someone develop and as the season went on he just got better and better with the more games he had. His technical ability, in terms of my lower league career, he is the best I’ve played with, in terms of pinging a ball, in terms of passing.
“He has had Rafa Benitez and Steve Bruce, and he could go into Newcastle now and they could have a new manager again so you need that bit of luck in terms of management but hopefully in the summer he can go back to Newcastle and get a chance to get close to the first-team because he’s definitely got the tools to be a top, top Premier League player.”
This may come from someone who’s only played alongside him in the third tiers of English football, but these are more glowing reports on the midfielder – who’s believed to be a contender for the 2019/20 League One Player of the Season after an outstanding spell with promotion chasing Rotherham.
The gap between League One and the Premier League is huge, but both Barlaser and Newcastle fans must take confidence from the fact Sean Longstaff followed an impressive loan stint with Blackpool with his breakthrough season under Rafa Benitez.
A LOT could change between now and then, but it seems he may be the latest Academy product to watch out for once our 2020 pre-season programme gets underway.