Roberts gets tough for fight to claim Newcastle first-team opportunity

POTENTIAL ... Callum Roberts.
POTENTIAL ... Callum Roberts.
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CALLUM Roberts says his spell at Gateshead has toughened him up – for the testing challenges ahead at Newcastle United.

Roberts was recalled from a half-season loan at the International Stadium last week.

I’ll keep working hard and try to do the best I can

Callum Roberts

The 17-year-old forward – who signed a professional deal at St James’s Park earlier this year – made three appearances for the Conference club.

But Newcastle ended the loan early after he was asked to play in a reserve fixture against Scunthorpe.

Roberts, however, felt he benefited from his brief spell the other side of the Tyne.

“It’s helped me,” Roberts said. “I was playing against older players, and it made me more aware of when tackles are coming in.

“It was a good experience, but I’m happy to be back.

“I’m trying to be a Premier League player, and the players in the Premier League are much bigger and stronger than me, so I’ve got to keep working on that.

“Hopefully, I can get another chance. I’ll keep working hard and try to do the best I can.”

Robert played in Monday night’s 1-1 Under-21 Premier League draw against Stoke City at St James’s Park.

Tom Heardman came off the bench to claim a point for Peter Beardsley’s side.

“I thought we had more chances and should have won we game, but we did well to come back and get a point in the end,” said North Shields-born Roberts.

“We deserved more, but we’ve just got to take it.

“The lads showed great character, and Tom coming on made a difference. He scored the goal, and Arma (Adam Armstrong) created it.”