Jonas Gutierrez has urged Newcastle United’s new generation to seize their chance to shine in the Premier League this season.
United reported back for pre-season training yesterday, as the Magpies begin their preparations for the new Premier League campaign. And while the summer has been filled with speculation over possible new recruits, a host of young players who have come through the ranks on Tyneside are waiting in the wings for opportunities of their own.
The likes of Sammy Ameobi, James Tavernier and Haris Vuckic were all involved to various degrees last season, and will look to continue their progression next term.
In addition, promising youngsters such as Remie Streete, Bradden Inman and Conor Newton will also be hoping manager Alan Pardew brings them into the first-team picture.
And Gutierrez believes United’s current crop of young talent has the potential to succeed, and is confident they will be given a chance to prove their worth.
“They have a great future ahead of them but they have to learn, they have to be clever,” the Argentina international said. “There is a good opportunity for them here at Newcastle.
“I wish that when I was their age I was at a club like this one with these chances. Players do not always have this opportunity and they should realise how lucky they are.
“They are young and they have to focus on football.
“They have to learn and to train hard, showing the manager that they can play.
“If they can do that, they are going to be in the squad and will have more and more opportunities.”
United have yet to begin their summer rebuilding work in earnest, but they have begun clearing the decks in preparation with James Perch completing his move to relegated Wigan Athletic.
The 27-year-old has moved to the DW Stadium for an undisclosed fee and signed a four-year contract with the Latics, becoming new manager Owen Coyle’s fourth signing.
Perch insists he does not view dropping down into the Championship as a backwards step, and is relishing the challenge of helping Wigan win promotion back to the Premier League.
“I think Wigan Athletic is a great club and after speaking with the manager, his ambition and determination to take the club back to the Premier League where it belongs is something I wanted to be a part of,” said the ex-Nottingham Forest man.
“Stepping down from the Premier League to the Championship won’t affect how I approach games this season. I’ll fight, I’ll give 100% and I’m ready to battle for a place in the team to get us back to the top flight.
“The fans will see a player with lots of energy, who’s not afraid to get stuck in and who wants to win – that’s the minimum they’ll get from me.
“It’s funny because the DW Stadium is where I made my debut for Nottingham Forest back in 2004, which was a good day for us, a 1-1 draw.
“Forest were the first team I looked for on the fixture list, and we play them pretty early on, so that will be a strange one for me but another of many games I’m looking forward to.
“I’ve also had some bad memories of this place as well, losing a few times with Newcastle in the past couple of years, but hopefully from now on it’ll be a good home for me.”
Perch spent three years at Newcastle, making 80 appearances in all competitions for the Magpies and scoring one goal.