Academy graduate Adam Armstrong has opened up about his “toughest spell” at the club – revealing how Rafa Benitez stopped him from joining top Championship clubs on loan.
Armstrong, who is currently the Championship’s top scorer and is excelling at Blackburn, was sold in 2018 for a measly £1.75m and has recently been linked with a Premier League return
He has had loan moves at Coventry, Barnsley, Bolton and Blackburn before he made his switch to Lancashire permanent under Tony Mowbray.
Since the turn of the year his performances have gone through the roof, with the forward having his own goal of the season competition at the back end of 19/20, earning him Rovers’ player of the year and top goal scorer awards with 17 goals and 7 assists in all competitions.
The 23-year-old has now opened up about his time at NUFC in a chat on the Process Podcast, where he admitted his toughest time was following relegation to the Championship in 2016.
Here is what he said in full on the Process Podcast:
“It was probably the toughest time. I found it so hard that they wanted us to go on loan to another Championship club. At that stage, I didn’t get it.
“They stopped us from going to teams that were in and around Newcastle at the time. I played the first four games under Benitez, I came on as a sub, and then that’s when they said they want me to go on loan. But you can only go on loan to certain clubs in the Championship.
“At the time, I remember Wigan, Barnsley, maybe Sheffield Wednesday but there were other clubs interested higher up that they wouldn’t let us go to.
“It was weird, I found that so hard to take. You’re stopping me from going to better clubs because you’re in the same division?
“Why can’t you just keep me here and I’ll prove to you why I can play in this league?”
“It was (the end of an era) but I still feel I never had a proper chance at Newcastle. I never once had two or three games on the bounce where I started, I never had that opportunity.
“It was hard leaving. It’s the club you grew up loving, and the opportunity came where Blackburn wanted to buy us. To know a club wants you and wants to buy you is huge.
“Were Newcastle going to play us at the time? I wasn’t sure, and I think for me it’s probably been the best decision I’ve made. I’m 23 and I’ve played more than 200 games, that’s what I want.
“I want to play week-in, week-out, I want to keep getting better. It’s worked out so well and I’ve just got to keep grounded and working hard.”
As someone who went to school with Arma, I can speak from experience that he is somebody who is totally dedicated to his craft – and that shows now he’s top of the Championship charts in 2020 with 16 goals so far following his hat-trick last weekend!
He was never involved in any trouble and sacrificed weekends where he could have easily been doing things he shouldn’t have to focus solely on becoming a footballer. Fair play – it’s paid off for him.
Since becoming a professional he has taken it upon himself to drop down the leagues and play football – not sit and stall on the sidelines – which is exactly what every young player should do to improve their own career.
It won’t be long before we see him earn a proper chance at Premier League and, who knows – possibly even doing so in a black-and-white shirt.