Newcastle United have a terrible record when it comes to producing homegrown talent in recent years – but with Rafael Benitez looking to create a dynasty on Tyneside, there are two who could become the next Geordie icons.
Despite the numerous faces who come and go through the youth system at St James’ Park, only Paul Dummett has stuck around over the last decade, with former stars Sammy Ameobi, Adam Campbell and most recently Adam Armstrong featuring before falling into the lower leagues of English football.
It is time for that to change, and after the Newcastle under-23 side saw off Doncaster in the English Football League Trophy, there are two players Benitez must be looking at throwing in the deep end with the first team: midfielder Sean Longstaff and winger Callum Roberts.
At 20 and 21-years-old respectively, the pair are certainly old enough to be considered for action, with first team regular Kenedy just 22, and the positions they play in mean there should be the chance to step into the first team when ready due to a lack of other options.
Of course, it is up to Benitez to decide whether they are ready for action, but considering the way they linked up so well for the second goal against Doncaster, their on-field connection could prove to be a useful asset.
Not only that, but how many Premier League sides are going to be prepared for the surprise of a young talent with barely any game time being named in the starting XI or off the bench?
The tactic could come off a treat – especially with speed demon Roberts, who could use his electric pace and no-fear attitude to bamboozle opposition defences.
It is a case of now or never for the pair, as they head into the age where they should be regulars for first team football, and if Benitez wants to create some homegrown heroes, they must be promoted right away.