Newcastle award professional contracts to four youth team players

The first day of pre-season brought about good news for four of the club's academy boys.

Newcastle United fans have started to grow anxious over the lack of movement in the transfer market this summer, but news of four promising youngsters signing new deals should help to ease their pain slightly.

The deals were confirmed on the club’s official website, with striker Tom Heardman, midfielder Liam Smith and defenders Jamie Sterry and Macaulay Gillesphey all signing their first professional contracts.

All four were offered the deals in March and will now train alongside the first team.

Right-back Sterry appeared on the substitutes bench on a number of occasions last season and was thrilled with the new deal:

He said: "I was on the bench last season and the atmosphere was amazing. I hope to experience that many more times."

6’4 striker Heardman found the experience a bit much to come to terms with:

He added: “Signing the papers in the boardroom was a bit surreal, and being a fan of the Club all my life, I am still trying to take it all in, that it's actually happening.”

Centre-back Gillesphey was in determined mood, stating: "I definitely want to try and push to get in the first team squad and on the bench, so I'll see what I can do about that."

While attacking midfielder Smith was overjoyed: "I've been here for 13 years now and to finally sign my first professional contract is everything I have worked for. It's a special moment."

Newcastle also offered third year scholarships to six young players: goalkeeper Brendan Pearson and defenders Jamie Cobain, Kyle Cameron, Adam Laidler, Callum Williams and Liam Gibson.

The Magpies’ future appears to be in good hands but questions persist over the here and now. With the new Premier League season just over a month away, the hunt for new arrivals is reaching a critical stage for Steve McClaren’s men.

Recent links to the likes of Charlie Austin, per Sky Sports, and Florian Thauvin, per the Daily Mail, are promising but links need to turn into deals sooner rather than later if Newcastle are to be prepared come August 8th.

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