According to a recent report from the Daily Mail, Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez has banished the club’s under-21s from the training ground in a bid to ensure no distractions as the Magpies seek to avoid relegation this season.
But if the report is true, Benitez is wrong to look at the club’s next generation as a hindrance and should instead keep them close so they can see what it is like to fight a battle against the drop at close quarters.
Newcastle’s youngsters are the future of the club and it would surely do no harm to have them train with the first-team even if the majority of them will not be used in the short-term. Indeed Benitez could use their presence to motivate some of his under-performing stars.
It would also give the under-21 players an invaluable experience of seeing what happens behind the scenes in the final few months of a relegation-threatened campaign. After all, some of them could one day be fighting for their own top-flight futures.
Young footballers are the lifeblood of any good football club, those stars of tomorrow waiting eagerly for their chance, and banishing them, if only for a while, is doing them a disservice while also missing out on the chance to allow them to offer an unlikely lifeline of their own.