While Lewis Cook, Charlie Taylor, Sam Byram and Jack Clarke have risen through the ranks at Leeds United before sealing moves to the Premier League, Newcastle’s academy is still struggling to produce top level footballers at a regular basis.
Highly-rated midfielder Sean Longstaff is one of the few players to be promoted from the second-team to The Magpies' senior squad since the rise of Steven Taylor in the mid-2000s.
The likes of Sammy Ameobi and Adam Armstrong failed to make their mark at senior level despite earning rave reviews in Newcastle’s youth ranks so new U23 boss Neil Redfearn is understandably desperate to ensure that Longstaff is more than an anomaly.
The Dewsbury-born coach spent three years at Leeds between 2012 and 2015 but he believes there is no comparison between his old club and his current one behind-the-scenes.
"It is second to none. When I was at Leeds we knew we had state of the art facilities but I look at this, this is better,” Redfearn told The Chronicle.
"It's a better set-up. It is a great facility for the young players. It won't happen overnight for us and there has been a lot of change at the club, we are trying to get it going.”
Two goals from Thomas Allen sealed a 2-1 win for Newcastle’s U23s against Fulham last time out, a welcome victory after 4-0 and 6-0 batterings to Manchester United and Reading . Newcastle’s youngsters also lost to West Ham in a nightmare start to the 2019/20 campaign.
And Redfearn will be praying that the likes of Yannick Toure, ex-Chelsea starlet Kyle Scott and recent first-team debutant Matty Longstaff (below) can build on that success in West London as he looks to prepare players for a role in Steve Bruce’s first-team plans.
He certainly has a smattering of real quality at his disposal.
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