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Why This Forgotten Newcastle Attacker Could Be More Than A Decent Option For Rafa Benitez Next Season

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Why Tom Heardman Would Be A Good Fit In The Newcastle First Team

The 6ft 4in Newcastle United under-23 striker Tom Heardman is hoping to take the chance with both hands handed to him during the Toon’s pre-season.

The local lad recently signed a new contract at the club and is highly thought of by Rafael Benitez, although seen as one for the future. For his part though, Heardman wishes to waste no time in stepping up to senior level even though his club is now once again a Premier League outfit.

At this point, it seems most likely that Heardman will be allowed to go out on loan, perhaps to the Championship, to gain more experience but I can’t help thinking he should remain with the first team pool. He will be given his chance in the close season and he must take it and assuming that he does, he may well represent a good option for Benitez’s senior group.

Although he still has more to learn, Heardman is 21 now and seems mature enough to take responsibility. No longer should the club rely on bad news as an excuse to play their youngsters. Upon relegation in the late-80’s, Newcastle suffered reduced turnover, player sales and in the end, they had to rely on youth team products to fill the first team in the early 90’s.

Lee Clark went on to become Fulham captain, Steve Watson was an Everton favourite, Alan Thompson and Steve Howey represented England, and Robbie Elliott had a good career in the Premier League.

The same thing happened during the relegation season of 2008-2009. A young Andy Carroll was only given his chance when the likes of Michael Owen, Obafemi Martins and Mark Viduka were unavailable and frankly, he out-performed those three senior players easily. Once again, when all three had to leave after demotion, Carroll was thrown into the team and later, he joined Liverpool.

Unlike at Liverpool for example, Newcastle have been bad at giving their young players a chance to impress. Yes, they have to be careful but at some point you must allow the young players at the club the chance to prove they have what it takes. You can’t simply label players as superstars, nor can you label them as not being good enough if they have not had the chance to play.

It looks increasingly likely as though Newcastle will play with one main striker most of the time. Chelsea starlet Tammy Abraham and last year’s top scorer Dwight Gayle could both be in the squad. With that in mind, any ‘big man’ option would be third choice to start off with and it’s unfair to ask senior players such as Aleksandar Mitrovic to take that role. So Heardman would be the right choice for it. Getting rid of Mitrovic is probably the only option.