Newcastle’s Academy given a target by Benitez


As is important for every club, an academy must be able to produce players worthy of breaking into the first team. Rafa Benitez has set a goal for Newcastle’s academy to reach. 

Rafa Benitez has stated he wants Newcastle United’s academy to produce two players a season that can play a supporting role in the first team squad. Obviously, they will not break through the academy as starters right off the bat. Those players don’t come very often, but if the club can manage to bring in quality local talent that play a supporting role, then it creates balance.

This will also help Newcastle United’s injury crisis, and they will be able to rely on younger players in the short term while creating long-term stars in the process. Rafa Benitez went on to say,

“I think now it will be more important in every country to produce players for your Academy.”

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Think about that. Following Britain’s departure from the European Union, it has been quite accepted throughout the footballing community that it will make foreign transfers more difficult. But it’s not just that transfers will be more difficult, Benitez doesn’t want the club to have to pay the price for overseas goods.

“Now if you go to the market to buy players the prices are incredible. It’s really important to have a group of players coming through the Academy because they will have a feel for the club and the city.”

That’s true. But I’m going to argue a bit here and say that just because the player has a feel for the club does not mean they’ll be quality. But then one can also say that when a player is comfortable within the system, then they will likely perform better. Sell that player, and they’ll likely have more problems moving forward.

Benitez also wants to make it easier for players to make the transition from youth to senior squad. Over the years, we have not seen many players from within the academy of Newcastle United get opportunities to prove the footballing world how talented they truly are. We’ve seen many players make the move away from the club because of this problem, and it was a major concern of many when Adam Armstrong has not yet been given a chance to shine.

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What can we expect from the academy? Not much at the moment. Benitez currently seems comfortable with the current coaching setup, but wants to change the path for the players, and set goals for the coaches so they push for that sort of performance out of their players. We’re most certainly not going to be seeing superstars anytime soon from this youth academy.

But seeing as Benitez was hardly involved in the youth academy last season because he was focused on managing the senior squad’s fight for safety, turning his attention now to the youth academy may spark the need to make coaching changes, and so we may see something along those lines in the future.

A revamped academy saves money, and also creates a strong group of local players playing at the professional level.

Next: Eight players Newcastle needs to sell

“When I was younger, in the past, you would have two or three foreigners in your team. You could use the money you had to buy the best foreign players and then have a lot of local players. We have to find this balance now.”

Seeing as Benitez has already purchased a foreign player in Matz Sels, is his focus more on English players moving forward? What can we expect to come out of the academy in the coming months? Will the club forego an offer for Ross McCormack in favor of letting Adam Armstrong get a chance?

A lot of things to look forward to as Benitez begins reshaping the culture of Newcastle United from within.