Players to watch as Newcastle United kick off their preseason friendlies

Dan Barlaser on the ball. (Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images)
Dan Barlaser on the ball. (Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images) /
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Dan Barlaser on the ball. (Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images)
Dan Barlaser on the ball. (Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images) /

Dan Barlaser

Last season, Matty Longstaff impressed in preseason and earned a look with the first team. Could Dan Barlaser be on a similar path this summer? He spent part of last season on loan with Rotherham United of League One and finished with two goals and five assists. Once considered a rising star, Barlaser featured for the first team in two FA Cup matches and once in the League Cup back in the 2016/17 season.

The 23-year-old could flash some of that playmaking ability against a competition level that he’s familiar with tomorrow and moving forward in the preseason. With his contract option for the 2020/21 season exercised by the club, Barlaser will need to prove that he deserves an extension beyond that and if he needs more seasoning on loan in a lower division or if he’s ready to contribute on a limited basis with the first team.

Kelland Watts

The young defender has already caught the eye of captain Jamaal Lascelles in camp. Last season, Kell made his debut against Liverpool in the finale after spending most of the season on loan with Mansfield Town and Stevenage. With that boost from his debut,  Watts will look to further establish himself this preseason with the senior staff.

In all likelihood, with a deep roster of center-backs, Watts will go on loan this season. But, it never hurts to make a good impression and show that you can hang with the big boys. According to Lascelles, Watts is the man to beat in the long-distance running exercises and has a great head on his shoulders. He will need to translate those habits and his ability from the training ground to the pitch during the upcoming friendlies.