RYAN Taylor wasn’t the only one to catch the eye at the Britannia Stadium.
The other name on everyone’s lips was Callum Roberts, a teenager from North Shields.
Taylor scored two stunning goals for Newcastle United’s Under-21s in Thursday night’s 2-1 win over Stoke City – and also netted at the other end.
Roberts had been quietly making a name for himself with his left foot this season.
The 17-year-old winger is quick, direct and knows the way to goal.
Just watch the YouTube clip of his superb strike against Eintracht Frankfurt in a German tournament in the summer.
More than 87,000 already have seen the goal.
More United fans got their first glimpse of Roberts, a second-year scholar at the club, at the near-empty Britannia Stadium, with the game having been televised.
Even Stoke assistant manager Mark Bowen, a Sky Sports pundit for the night, was raving about Roberts – who can also play up front – after the final whistle.
He had played with pace and purpose, and had rarely wasted possession.
Roberts – who went to Churchill Community College in Wallsend – joined Newcastle when he was eight after being spotted playing for a Killingworth boys’ club, and he has steadily progressed through the ranks at the club’s Academy.
Now part of Peter Beardsley’s Under-21 squad, the future looks bright for Roberts, who avidly watches every first-team home game.
Roberts, a keen golfer away from football, still has a long way to go at United.
But Beardsley – one of the most gifted footballers ever to have pulled on a black and white shirt – has high hopes for him.
First-team manager Alan Pardew and his No2 John Carver – both keen to see more homegrown players succeed at the club – are also well aware of his potential.
Roberts – who scored for the Under-21s at Anfield last season – impressed Taylor during his comeback game against Brighton at the club’s training ground last month.
“The standout for me was young Callum, especially in the second half when he had licence to run at his guy,” said the 30-year-old.
“He created so many problems. I thought he did really well.”
Level-headed Roberts has already come a long way at Newcastle.
But he has the ability to go a lot further.