By Tom Blackburn
Newcastle legend Alan Shearer has called on Rafa Benitez to give 19-year-old striker Adam Armstrong a chance in the Championship.
Armstrong spent last year on loan at Coventry City in League One, where he scored 20 goals in 40 games, while Newcastle were largely short on goals in the Premier League.
Despite relegation, Newcastle have managed to retain the services of boss Benitez but it is still unclear whether the Spaniard will look to delve into his youth options.
Academy graduate Armstrong joined Newcastle aged nine and impressed all the way through the youth set-up, before being given his Premier League debut in 2014 as Newcastle’s second youngest player in history.
Former Newcastle star Shearer is the all-time Premier League top goalscorer with 260 strikes, and he hopes that in reducing the wage bill Benitez will give some of the young talent their shot at the Championship.
Shearer told the Shields Gazette, “I think he [Benitez] will certainly have a look at him. He’s had a brilliant season, he’s scored goals – and in doing so did something Newcastle weren’t able to do.
“It might have been different leagues but I’m sure he’ll want to come back and show what he can do. Hopefully hell be given the chance to do that.”
Meanwhile, Coventry director of football Mark Venus revealed they would like the player to spend another year with them.
Venus told the Gazette: “I think if Adam Armstrong was going out on loan again next year we would be stupid not to want him back – we’d welcome him back with open arms.
“Everyone has a different opinion on what’s best for his development. I think it was a hard season for Adam, physically, last season that took a lot out of him.
“With his international trips as well it was a physical learning curve for him and I think the Championship is another step up, physically, for a footballer.”
In other Newcastle news, Benitez has handed the club a long list of summer targets.