ADAM’S FU­TURE LOOKS FOR­LORN

The Football League Paper - - CHRIS DUNLAVY -

AN­OTHER year, an­other loan for Adam Arm­strong. Will the striker ever get his chance at New­cas­tle?

Twenty goals for Coven­try in 2015-16 sug­gested it was only a matter of time, es­pe­cially when the Mag­pies sub­se­quently slumped into the Cham­pi­onship.

Where bet­ter to blood a home­grown young­ster than a dom­i­nant, table­top­ping side that cre­ated scores of chances?

Arm­strong, though, was farmed out to Barns­ley. Even when it be­came ap­par­ent that New­cas­tle lacked pacy cover for the in­juryprone Dwight Gayle, Rafa Ben­itez showed no sign of is­su­ing a re­call.

Last month, the for­ward played three games as Eng­land won the Un­der-20 World Cup. The Spa­niard still wasn’t im­pressed and sent Arm­strong on loan to Bolton.

Mean­while, New­cas­tle are try­ing to sign Lu­cas Perez, an Ar­se­nal flop with one Premier League goal to his name. Hardly a vote of con­fi­dence.

Loans can work won­ders, of course – just look at Harry Kane – but the Spurs striker had a man­ager in Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino who is pas­sion­ate about youth devel­op­ment.

Ben­itez is not. “Be­cause of the money now, you can bring more play­ers from abroad,” he said when ques­tioned about Arm­strong. “So for the home­grown boys, it’s al­ways more dif­fi­cult to get a chance in the first team.”

Es­pe­cially if you don’t give them one, Rafa.

Arm­strong will be 21 in Fe­bru­ary. His con­tract ex­pires in 2019. He can­not af­ford to wait that long for an op­por­tu­nity.

OVER­LOOKED: Arm­strong

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