Tyrique Bartlett

A striker with a fa­mous fa­ther mak­ing his own way at New­cas­tle United

Kick Off - - INSIDE - BY NICK SAID | Twit­ter: @nick­said

Tyrique Bartlett car­ries a fa­mous sur­name in South African foot­ball, but the teenager is de­ter­mined to cre­ate his own history at English Pre­mier League side New­cas­tle United. Tyrique is the son of leg­endary for­mer Bafana Bafana striker Shaun Bartlett, who turned out for Charl­ton Ath­letic and Kaizer Chiefs in his play­ing days, and a player of huge prom­ise in his own right. Un­sur­pris­ingly, Shaun has been a big in­flu­ence on Tyrique’s de­vel­op­ment, but so too has mum, Juanita, and he says it’s been with their com­bined support that he has been able to live his dream. “Up un­til the age of 13 I was just play­ing kid­dies’ foot­ball; I wasn’t part of any academy or any­thing like that,” Tyrique tells KICK OFF from New­cas­tle, north of Eng­land. “But when my dad got the job at [La­montville] Golden Ar­rows, I went to train with an academy in Amanz­im­toti and that is where I be­gan to get some proper skills from for­mal coach­ing. “Then I was able to join AmaTuks [Univer­sity of Pre­to­ria] and they had such great facilities, I think I came along even more.” It was while play­ing for AmaTuks at the Bay­hill Tour­na­ment in Cape Town that he was spot­ted by player rep­re­sen­ta­tive Lance Davids, who had al­ready had a sight of the tall young­ster be­fore. “I had pre­vi­ously had a trial at Ajax Cape Town and Lance saw me then as well, so he knew who I was. He asked me ques­tions about my am­bi­tions, and my views on dif­fer­ent things, and I think he liked what he heard. He agreed to take me on.”

Davids ar­ranged for a trial at

New­cas­tle ahead of last sea­son and Tyrique shone. “I re­mem­ber I took the train up from Lon­don to New­cas­tle on the day of the trial and im­me­di­ately played a game and scored two goals. I then spent the rest of the week train­ing at the club. “They re­ally liked what they saw, but as I was still in high school, so I re­turned to com­plete my stud­ies. Then in De­cem­ber, af­ter the school year fin­ished, I went back and was signed.” He will spend this sea­son with New­cas­tle’s Un­der-23 side that com­petes in what is es­sen­tially the re­serve league in Eng­land, the Pre­mier League 2. The Un­der-23 side is coached by New­cas­tle, Liver­pool, Ever­ton and Eng­land le­gend Peter Beard­s­ley, a player of im­mense skill in his day. “I just try and get as much in­for­ma­tion from him as pos­si­ble,” he says. “He has ex­pe­ri­enced ev­ery­thing in the game and is al­ways very help­ful to the young play­ers.” Tyrique says he has not set him­self any lim­its this sea­son and will push hard for his ul­ti­mate goal, like fa­ther Shaun, to play in the Pre­mier League un­der head coach Rafa Benitez. “I will just keep work­ing re­ally hard and see what hap­pens. I will not limit my am­bi­tions; if I can do well for the Un­der-23 team then maybe I can get a few games in the first team. I have to be­lieve that. “I just love to play foot­ball and for me there is noth­ing bet­ter than do­ing some­thing you love and get­ting paid for it too.” Tyrique says that there are dif­fer­ences in his own game to the way dad Shaun played, but there are also plenty of sim­i­lar­i­ties. “I may be tall, but I can move quickly and make runs in be­hind the de­fence. I am able to hold up the ball to bring oth­ers in, or to take on de­fend­ers my­self. I’m quite good at dis­guis­ing how I’m go­ing to play.” Shaun was ob­vi­ously an in­flu­ence on a young Tyrique. “Dad would of­ten take me for oneon-one ses­sions, teach­ing me the ba­sics of be­ing a top striker. But he never put pres­sure on me as his son. “He said to me: ‘I don’t want you to fol­low in my foot­steps, I want you to cre­ate your own path in the game’.”

“HE SAID TO ME: ‘I DON’T WANT YOU TO FOL­LOW IN MY FOOT­STEPS, I WANT YOU TO CRE­ATE YOUR OWN PATH IN THE GAME’.”

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