Newcastle boss reveals why hotshot striker did not start derby

St James Park

John Carver has revealed why Adam Armstrong did not come on earlier in Tyne-Wear derby.

Armstrong was hinted as a potential starter for the Magpies, and Carver has told the Shields Gazette why he did not come on earlier in the game.

The temporary head coach said: “It’s a good question, and what worries me about putting young players into situations like that is that it could hurt them, and I’ve said that in the past.

“I’ll accept that. I could have brought Adam on earlier, but we needed to get some sort of support up to the frontmen. Ayoze was up there on his own and was a little bit isolated. He worked extremely hard, but the physical presence of their two centre-halves caused us a problem.

“I needed to get Manu on the pitch, hopefully so we could hold the ball up and midfield players could get closer to him, and I thought he did that.”

The Magpies were losing 1-0 at half-time thanks to Jermain Defoe’s long-range strike, but Carver looked towards Emmanuel Riviere just before the hour mark, rather than the teenage striker.

Admittedly, this was not an unwise move, as Riviere has more experience of top flight football behind him than Armstrong, but it did not pay off, and Armstrong was afforded just three minutes of action at the Stadium of Light - in which he could do little.

Carver is right to express worry at the atmospheric situation that such a young player would be entering in.

If Armstrong had come on earlier and had messed up, the entire Newcastle crowd would been on his back - a situation that a young player with little experience could struggle to handle.

In his little time, he could do nothing to bring complaint, but he also had too little time to properly impress. Even if he had spent more time on the pitch, he may not have been able to lead the Magpies to victory - or even help them score - but there is no doubting that Carver made the wrong decision when he decided against substituting Armstrong for Riviere.

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