Newcastle under-23 coach Peter Beardsley has suggested that he has been delighted with the form shown by Sammy Ameobi but insisted that he may still be a long way off pushing for a first-team return, the Chronicle reports.
Ameobi has made just three appearances for Newcastle this season, instead spending the majority of the campaign so far on loan at League One side Bolton.
But after impressing for the Magpies' youth team - he scored two excellent goals in the under-23 side's victory over West Ham on Saturday - some may have wondered whether a recall to the team was due.
However, Beardsley suggested that it is unclear how far away the winger is from earning another chance in the first-team.
“I can’t really say either way. Sammy was fantastic for us, but when the first-team are winning he might be miles away - I don’t know," he said, as reported by the Chronicle, when asked about Ameobi's first-team prospects.
Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez
“What I have seen of him, I am delighted with, but Rafa will look at the clips, as he always does, and he looks at every player.
“Sammy is benefiting from working with the gaffer every day and I was happy that he played as long as he did today.
While he impressed during his time with Bolton, Ameobi has arguably not shown enough when he has played for Newcastle to suggest that he is deserving of another prolonged run in Rafa Benitez's side.
However, he may perhaps be able to earn another chance if Newcastle capitalise on their current position in the Championship table.
Newcastle appear to be well on their way to securing promotion back to the Premier League, and if they manage to confirm that fact - perhaps while also securing the title - then it may not be out of the question for Benitez to start looking at some of the fringe players within his squad and handing them a chance to prove themselves.
If the title is wrapped up before the season's conclusion, then some of the key men would be forgiven for switching off somewhat having achieved the goals for the campaign.
However, guys like Ameobi, who want to prove themselves ahead of next season, will still have a tremendous amount of motivation to show what they can do, and thus, it may make sense for Benitez to consider some changes.