ALAN Pardew says the current crop of youngsters at Newcastle United is the strongest he has worked with at the club.
Pardew has handed a chance to a number of inexperienced players in recent weeks, particularly in Wednesday’s League Cup win at Manchester City.
The United manager says a lot of hard work has gone into developing the likes of Rolando Aarons, Paul Dummett and Adam Armstrong, while he has revealed there are a number of other youngsters below the surface ready to grab their big chance.
When asked whether he was pleased he suddenly had a group of talented young players to choose from, Pardew said: “I wouldn’t say ‘suddenly’ because we have worked hard on one of two of them.
“But now without a shadow of a doubt – and I felt this even before we had these results – this is the strongest group (of youngsters) I have had since I have been here. I probably said it earlier on.
“Aarons, Dummett, Armstrong, we have (Freddie) Woodman in goal as well, who is going to come through, I think, we have Lubo (Satka), who you haven’t seen yet, so we have quite a strong group coming through.
“Sammy (Ameobi), we have had to wait for, so I am not including Sammy in that.
“He has been in those games in the past and disappointed, but I have always said he might be a late-comer and hopefully, fingers crossed, he is going to make more impact this year than he has in previous years.”
Armstrong was handed his second senior start on Wednesday as Newcastle won 2-0 to record a third straight victory.
Pardew was pleased with the 17-year-old’s contribution, and is excited about the potential of the forward.
He added: “I felt for Arma (on Wednesday) because wow, he really put in a shift and you didn’t really see what his real quality is, and that’s him with the ball.
“He is in good shape and obviously he will be buoyed by it as well.
“We still haven’t seen the best of Armstrong and he could be the pick of the bunch.”