ADAM’S FUTURE LOOKS FORLORN
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.