Newcastle U23’s star Callum Roberts is in the squad for Newcastle’s replay at Ewood Park this evening.
Other players from Ben Dawson’s U23’s: Freddie Woodman, Sean Longstaff and Jamie Sterry are expected to retain their places in the senior squad after Benitez stated that the plan for this replay is the exact same as it was on the 12th January.
“I have the same idea as before – try to find a balance between a team strong enough to beat Blackburn and at the same time protect some players. We have some injuries, knocks and little problems.” – Rafa Benitez on his team selection.
Rafa’s comments in the press conference makes it clear that Premier League is his main priority. Starting a younger and inexperienced side makes sense given Newcastle’s current lack of depth in important areas, making call ups from the youth academy has worked wonders with other clubs, therefore we should not write off the players that have been chosen.
Callum Roberts 18/19 season
Callum Roberts has been in exceptional form for Ben Dawson’s U23’s this season and has contributed massively for their campaign to push for promotion back to the Premier League 2 division 1.
For this season he has locked down the right wing spot in Newcastle’s team and been putting out the best performances in his Newcastle career.
Callum Roberts stats PL 18/19
- Appearances: 14
- Goals: 9
- Assists: 5
Ben Dawson heaped praised Callum Roberts development when asked for an opinion on his call up for Rafa’s Cup squad.
“Callum has had to work hard, he has had to be patient and persistent. “Fingers crossed, if he gets on the pitch, then it’s down to him. “He’s had some great nights and some good performances, the challenge for Callum is to do it consistently and against the more difficult opponents.
“We all know his ability on the ball, and he has improved his work-rate out of possession, understanding of defensive shape and how to help the team that way.”
“We hope he is getting one step closer.”