The lack of homegrown talent forcing their way into Newcastle United’s first-team has been well documented.
While the likes of Adam Armstrong and Dan Barlaser have been handed the odd opportunity in the last few seasons, Paul Dummett remains the most recent academy graduate to establish himself in The Magpies starting XI – and he has been a regular now for five years.
So it is certainly a worrying sign that, according to The Chronicle, Rafa Benitez is not happy with the Newcastle academy as it is not producing the standard of player that he would like to see coming through the ranks.
It is understood that Benitez already considers 21-year-old goalkeeper Freddie Woodman (below) to be a first-team player despite the fact he is currently on loan at Aberdeen, while the likes of Mo Sangare have been given a chance to train with the senior squad recently.
But, beyond that, Benitez is unconvinced by a lot of the youngsters in Newcastle’s ranks and The Chronicle claims that a vast number are due to be let go at the end of the season.
Though it seems the Spaniard, who dreams of building a legacy on Tyneside, is not willing to sit aside while the academy struggles. The Chronicle adds that Benitez wants to ensure there is a number of locally-sourced talents in his first-team in the future and will take a closer look at the situation once Premier League safety has been assured.
“You have to concentrate all your energy into staying up,” the Spaniard said, with Newcastle currently 13th in the table and five points clear of the drop zone.
“At the same time, you have to keep an eye on the Academy and be sure that we improve things there.”
As it stands, however, the St James’ faithful may have some time to wait before they can cheer on ‘one of their own’ from the terraces.