TEENAGER Rolando Aarons looks like he is flying again at Newcastle United – but the winger insists his feet remain firmly on the ground.
The 18-year-old returned from a six-week injury lay-off in style on Wednesday as he scored United’s opener in their 2-0 Capital One Cup win at Manchester City.
Aarons scored in the sixth minute at the Etihad Stadium to open up a lead Newcastle would not let slip as they clinched a quarter-final trip to Tottenham.
The England Under-20 international came off at half-time, but he had already done more than enough damage by then.
Aarons has received praise from all quarters since the match.
However, he insists he still has a lot of improving to do and is refusing to get carried away.
Aarons said: “I’m just focusing on playing football, and what other people are saying about me, or the praise that I’ve been receiving, doesn’t really affect what I’m doing.
“I know I can play much better than I have been, and I’m just working on my game every day in training to try to make sure that happens. I’m trying to improve.
“I always hoped this would be my breakthrough season.
“I worked really hard last year to try to get to a position where I could challenge for the first team, and when I came back for pre-season I was planning to break through and really push myself.
“I wasn’t expecting to come to the Etihad and score within six minutes though.”
Aarons’ six-week hamstring injury lay-off came after he made a stunning impact in Newcastle’s 3-3 home Premier League draw against Crystal Palace.
After coming on as a substitute, he headed in an equaliser before claiming an assist for Mike Williamson’s goal when his cross came back off the post.
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has been delighted with the progress of Aarons, who he says has “tremendous potential”.
He said: “He has a massive asset, which is his pace.
“He also has a nice temperament, I think he is a good person.
“He has got his feet on the ground, he has got tremendous potential and this could be a breakthrough season for him. It could be, but he has still got a bit to go yet.”