As Wallsend Boys Club calls on the Premier League to pay up for local talent, we look at seven former Wallsend stars who made it to the Premier League.
1) Alan Shearer
The Premier League’s all-time record goalscorer honed his craft in the North East and, after spells at Southampton and Blackburn, where he won a league title, he made the switch back to Tyneside in 1996. Shearer thrived on the international stage too, scoring 30 times in 63 appearances for England.
2) Peter Beardsley
Beardsley was released by Newcastle as a teenager, but ended up having two spells at St James’s either side of stints with Merseyside rivals Liverpool and Everton. He made 59 appearances for England, scoring nine goals.
3) Michael Carrick
The England international has been a Manchester United mainstay over the past decade, but he slipped through the net of all the North East clubs after his grassroots days at Wallsend. He followed the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Joe Cole and Jermain Defoe in progressing at West Ham, and played for Tottenham before moving to United in 2006.
4) Fraser Forster
After being at Wallsend, Southampton’s current number one failed to make a senior appearance at Newcastle, despite a series of loans away from the club. He eventually headed to Scotland, signing for Celtic, where his career took off. Forster now has five England caps as well as three Scottish league titles to his name.
5) Robbie Elliott
Elliott was a consistent performer in the Newcastle teams that pushed in vain for a title in the mid-1990s and chipped in with seven goals when his boyhood club finished runners-up in the 1996-97 season. Primarily a left-back, Elliott spent five years at Bolton between spells with the Magpies before a short stint at Sunderland.
6) Steve Bruce
One of England’s best defenders never to win an international cap. Bruce had to move away from the North East to catch his break with Gillingham. He was an integral part of the early success Sir Alex Ferguson had at Manchester United, scoring two goals in the crucial win over Sheffield Wednesday in 1993 and captaining the double-winning side of 1994.
7) Steven Taylor
Taylor is still plying his trade in the top flight today at Newcaslte, although this season he has struggled to maintain his place in the side, making just nine league appearances. However, apart from a loan spell with Wycombe, Newcastle has been the only club Taylor has ever been at since his professional debut in 2003. He was a regular for England Under-21s but has never received a senior cap.
And here are two other North East stars who made their way to the top from grassroots football.
8) Wes Brown
A product of Fletcher Moss Rangers in Didsbury, the Sunderland defender overcame a series of injuries during his early days in the professional ranks to make over 200 appearances for Manchester United, winning seven top-flight championships and two Champions League winners’ medals. Brown has also won 23 England caps and has been at Sunderland since Steve Bruce signed him in 2011.
9) Danny Welbeck
Another product of Fletcher Moss, the striker was one of the few homegrown talents to make the grade at Old Trafford after the well-documented Class of 92. Welbeck, like Brown, was born in Manchester and he marked his Premier League debut with a terrific goal against Stoke in 2008. However, after falling out of favour at Old Trafford, Welbeck came to the Stadium of Light on a season-long loan in August 2010, scoring six goals in 21 games.