Steve Bruce has promoted teenage forward Dylan Stephenson to train with the Newcastle United first-team fold following Callum Wilson’s injury, according to Chronicle Live.
Wilson sustained a thigh strain against Southampton in last month’s draw and faces a potentially lengthy spell on the sidelines. The blow stopped him facing Manchester United on Saturday and could prevent him from featuring until the end of October.
Bruce fielded Joelinton in place of Wilson at Old Trafford, while leaving Dwight Gayle as an unused substitute. He will likely choose between the pair before Leeds visit St James’ Park on Friday, but has drafted Stephenson in.
Stephenson is training with the Newcastle first-team after impressing with the U23s at the start of the season. The 18-year-old has five goals in four PL2 games and has started each of his outings. He also opened the action against Sheffield Wednesday in the EFL Trophy.
The Blyth-born prospect has thrilled Newcastle with his development after a starring role in last term’s FA Youth Cup efforts. He hit four goals in four on way to the quarter-final, while netting seven in 16 U18 Premier League games. United awarded him a first professional contract after his 2020/21 performances, and will now have a chance to impress Bruce.
Should the Magpies product perform well in training, he may push for a seat on the bench against Leeds. Joelinton is yet to score this season after four outings, one start, while Gayle is yet to feature. Bruce has left the 31-year-old on the bench each game thus far this term.
Newcastle promote ruthless prospect Stephenson to Bruce first-team
Stephenson has displayed a ruthless streak in Newcastle’s academy ranks this season and dismantled Burnley’s U23s. The youngster pounced on an under hit backpass and kept his composure to slot home his first, and sealed a brace by seizing on another defensive lapse.
He showed plenty of promise in a pre-season friendly against National League North side Darlington in July, too. Producing an excellent finish to put the Toon’s U23s in a 2-1 lead at Blackwell Meadows, before bagging his brace with a thunderous drive in the final minute.
Speaking after his Darlington double, Stepheson spoke of the confidence the goals gave him, plus his aims for the season. The teen talent told NUFC.co.uk: “I enjoyed going up against senior opposition. When you’re on the ball, you feel that bit of pressure and the tackles are more stronger. I was really happy to score twice, and it gives me a boost.”
He added: “I want to be in the starting line-up for every [U23s] game, carrying on scoring goals and being the main forward for the season. [Others] had the opportunity with the first-team to impress and everyone at the academy are pleased to see them make their debuts for the first-team. Hopefully, I can do the same.”