Newcastle United’s struggles up front so far this season have been well documented, but things have become even more desperate since news broke that a suspected thigh muscle tear could rule new signing Siem de Jong out for ‘a number of months’.
However, the answer to those problems could well be right in front of them, in the form of local product Adam Armstrong, with the diminutive striker pushing himself further into first-team contention this week with a brace on his debut for England’s under-18 side in a 4-1 win over the Netherlands.
Armstrong, 17, made his Newcastle debut as an 86th-minute substitute against Fulham in March, having impressed during the first-half of the season with the reserves, going on to make three more cameo appearances over the coming months.
Helping England win the European Under-17 Championship this summer, before establishing himself as a regular in Alan Pardew’s side during pre-season, the teenage front man then got off to a hot start to the 2014-15 campaign with the club’s under-21s, netting a hat-trick in their opening game against Reading to make his manager sit up and take notice.
The Magpies are reported to have turned down loan offers from Championship sides since De Jong was sidelined and, with their other supposed goalscorers failing to deliver thus far, the time might have come for the under-fire Pardew to give Armstrong an extended look after the international break.
That’s not to suggest the club should be panicking about their various attacking acquisitions after just three Premier League matches, but it would be just as foolish to outright ignore someone who could be a potential difference-maker, regardless of their lack of top-flight experience.
While it’s too soon to task the lifelong Newcastle fan with leading the line on his own at such a tender age, as teammate Rolando Aarons has demonstrated so far this season, a lot can be gained from giving up-and-coming talent a chance - especially when they come with his kind of track record.