Tuesday 10 December 2019

Pardew: Armstrong is a top talent

Adam Armstrong, right, impressed against Crystal Palace
Adam Armstrong, right, impressed against Crystal Palace

Alan Pardew has challenged Newcastle teenager Adam Armstrong to live up to the same level of rich promise that carried Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to England stardom.

Newcastle boss Pardew believes highly-rated 17-year-old forward Armstrong has similar pedigree to the best young players he has blooded in his managerial career.

Armstrong capped his full Newcastle debut with a smart extra-time cross that teed up Paul Dummett's decisive header in Wednesday's 3-2 Capital One Cup victory at Crystal Palace.

Pardew hailed Armstrong's progress, then called on the England Under-18 star to match the long-term impact of the likes of Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jonjo Shelvey and Mark Noble.

"He's a player that excites us as a football club, I know England think highly of him," said Pardew.

"I've given debuts to a few good 17-year-olds, Noble, Shelvey, Oxlade-Chamberlain in terms of potential.

"Obviously those guys have fulfilled that and that's what he's got to do now.

"He showed a few moments that whetted the appetite, and he's got to move on from this."

Former Palace star Pardew admitted he enjoyed his Selhurst Park return, as much for the reception from Newcastle fans as the Eagles' faithful.

Newcastle supporters staged mass protests of Pardew's reign during the weekend's 2-2 home Premier League draw with Hull.

Pardew was relieved to oversee just a third win in 15 matches then, and thanked the travelling support for not laying into him in south London.

Newcastle now face a daunting trip to Manchester City in the fourth round, after the Premier League champions battered Sheffield Wednesday 7-0.

"It's a tough game, Man City's third team is pretty strong," said Pardew.

"We'll have to give it a good old go when we get there.

"It's always lovely to come back, I thought our fans were terrific, they made a conscious effort to support the team.

"They didn't focus on my position too much, and I thank them for that."

Newcastle thought they had the game won in normal time thanks to two goals from Emmanuel Riviere, only for Palace's teenage debutant Sullay Kaikai to level in injury time.

Mehdi Abeid's red card hit Newcastle's hopes further, but the Tynesiders were still able to snatch victory, leaving Pardew admitting his relief, and praising captain Fabricio Coloccini's cool head in defence.

"We made it more difficult for ourselves with the sending-off," said Pardew.

"I thought his tackle was very close to a red, because he just pulled out at the last second.

"Then he did a silly hand gesture and ref sent him off for that.

"We were getting tired but the desire and character in the group was tremendous.

"That was typified by our captain who was by far and away our best player on the pitch."

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