It’s a name that Geordie fans the world over were excited about for years, as he rose through the youth ranks at St. James’ Park. Adam Armstrong had a prolific youth career at Newcastle United, which gained national attention.
Geordie born and bred, and full of pace, skill and youthful exuberance, it seemed the Toon might have unearthed someone who could take over the infamous number 9 jersey. His prolific young career culminated in 17 goals and 5 assists in 26 games for Newcastle’s under 23 side.
His youth form earned him a call up to the England set-up and it’s from here that he went from strength to strength. He became a main stay in the international set up, playing at every age group up to the England under 21s. During this time he bagged 31 goals in 54 games, including 10 in 12 for the under 17s.
The missing years
In August 2014, Armstrong got his senior team bow, shortly after another promising young striker Adam Campbell tried to break into the starting line-up. However, used largely as a sub, Armstrong didn’t manage to get on the score sheet in any of his 20 appearances for United. Alan Pardew and John Carver put little faith in the diminutive striker's ability to lead the line as he was often played as a left winger, failing to shine in the limited time he had on the pitch.
Armstrong moved to Coventry on loan in 2015, where he excelled scoring 20 goals in 40 games and looked ready to come back and fight for his place in the black and white. However, his preseason form was not up to scratch and Armstrong was shipped out to Barnsley for 2016/17 season where his form dipped.
The next few years saw a number loan moves where he showed flashes of the brilliance which was promised, but nothing like the form which had Newcastle fans purring in anticipation during his youth club years.
18 months ago, Armstrong finally left the banks of the Tyne permanently, joining up with Blackburn Rovers boss Tony Mowbray, rekindling a partnership that worked well during his loan stint at Coventry.
Now, with 4 goals and 6 assists in his last 12 games, he is relishing the chance to shine up top as the sole striker, menacing defenders and attracting the attention teams throughout the Championship and Premier League. This is the opportunity that Armstrong has been waiting for, and still only 22 years old, the world is at his feet if he can continue to grasp this opportunity.
Meanwhile back on Tyneside, United’s top scorer this season is Jonjo Shelvey with five goals, while £24million man Almiron and £40million signing Joelinton have managed just three goals between them from a combined 76 shots at goal. While the former is endearing hearts and minds with his performances, Armstrong must be wondering why he wasn’t kept on, with Joelinton looking like a deer in headlights.
The future looks bright from young Adam, with Tony Mowbray showering him with praise, and stating that he believes he could be the future of Blackburn. With the Rovers only 6 points off the playoff spots, we could yet see him back in the premiership as soon as next season.
For one, I’m looking forward to seeing how the 22 year old progresses over the rest of the season and the years to come, with the hope that a homecoming call will persuade him to come back to his roots and take up the black and white number 9 jersey he was once touted for.
Liam O'Neill is a contributor writer for Fans Voice visit his blog called A Magpies Musings here
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