Rafa Benitez reveals his '˜problem' with Adam Armstrong at Newcastle

Rafa Benitez is undecided on Adam Armstrong's immediate future at Newcastle United.

Thursday, 7th July 2016, 5:00 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 5:11 pm
Adam Armstrong

Benitez must decide whether to keep Armstrong at St James’s Park for the coming season – or loan him out.

The talented 19-year-old scored 20 goals for League One Coventry City last season.

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And a clutch of Football League clubs are interested in taking him for the coming campaign.

Armstrong – who has failed to prove his fitness in time to make England’s Under-19 squad for this month’s European Championships – is keen to make his mark back at St James’s Park.

However, United manager Benitez – who has already signed forward Dwight Gayle – could yet to decide to send him on loan again, though the thigh injury suffered early this month complicates his situation.

Asked whether Armstrong would stay on Tyneside this season, Benitez said: “With him, we have a problem. It’s a good problem.

“We don’t have too much time to see how he is, because he is still only running at the moment.”

Benitez will only decide to keep Armstrong at the club if he feels he will play games.

“It’s always difficult with the competition, especially when you are a young player,” he said. “For me, as a manager, if you ask me what do you prefer?

“I prefer local players, but they have to be good enough to compete at the maximum level. The top sides have the best academies, but still they need to bring in foreign players.

“The main thing is to give him the opportunity to show his level. If we think the best thing is to send him away to keep developing, then we will do that.”

Armstrong suffered his injury on England Under-19s duty early this month, but he’s close to a return to the practice pitch ahead of next week’s training camp in Ireland.

Benitez said: “He’s running, coming back from his injury. Obviously, I know he had a great, great season (at Coventry). I was talking with him afterwards. Now we have to wait, and see how he is in pre-season.”

Speaking in May, Armstrong said: “Obviously, being a Newcastle lad I want to try and get in the first team. If that doesn’t work out, then loan is probably going to be the option again.”