Newcastle United youngster Adam Armstrong has been tipped for a stellar future after emerging as the redeeming feature of a miserable weekend in West London.
At just 17, England under-18s forward Armstrong became the second-youngest player to don black and white in the Premier League after coming on as a late substitute in the 1-0 reverse at Fulham, and he didn’t look bereft of confidence in his short cameo.
With United almost certainly out of the Europa League race after the loss at Craven Cottage, Armstrong may be given further opportunities to carry on the fine scoring record in the reserves and Academy which has put him in the thoughts of the club’s hierarchy.
A long-term deal is in the pipeline for the striker and stand-in boss John Carver – who revealed he played in the same Sunday league team as Armstrong’s father – believes he has the potential to carve out a career at Newcastle.
He said: “We didn’t put him on for the sake of putting him on. He has a bright future in front of him.
“He has only just turned 17 but I have to say he has a level head and he has to because of his family background.
“He still has a lot of work to do but it’s a good taste for him. It’s a good situation to come on in a Premier League game when you’re 17.
“You know in the North East, we love our strikers. He’s a natural goalscorer. He come on on the right hand side and I thought ‘There’s a chance to be a hero here’. He put it into the stand which is unlike him because his record at youth team level and reserve team level is very good.
“He’s the one guy who does come alive when he gets the ball.”
Armstrong (pictured below) had a chance in the late stages of a frustrating game at Craven Cottage, smashing a long-range drive over the bar.
It was a sign of his confidence he attempted to take the opportunity on, but he is made of stern stuff. He hails from Chapel House and Carver revealed his dad was a fierce full-back who would “kick his own granny” on the field.
The pair played together after Carver’s professional career was ended by injury.
The stand-in was delighted for the youngster.
He added: “It’s a massive moment for Adam.
“I played Sunday morning football with his dad when I finished playing and let me tell you his dad used to make tackles like Hangeland did on Luuk de Jong all the time! He was quite a fearsome guy. I know what he’s like and he’ll be so proud.
“He’s a west end (of Newcastle) lad, similar to me and the family will be so proud. He was here today and it was good to give his young lad a chance.”
Armstrong’s confidence is in stark contrast to Papiss Cisse, whose struggles in front of goal continue.
Carver insists they will continue to work with the striker, who missed a gilt-edged opportunity at Fulham.
He said: “Sometimes we might need to play little games with him to make him feel good.
“I have to tell you he’s worked hard. I’ve been delighted with the way he wants to do extra, sometimes we’ve had to drag him in.”
It was the first of three games when Alan Pardew is banned from the stadium and he spoke twice to Carver during the game, having watched the game from his hotel.
Carver added: “I don’t think it worked against us. Like he said through the week, he has a lot of faith in his staff.
“We have a lot of experience in the technical area so the fact he only contacted us twice meant he was happy with us.”