CALLUM Roberts is set to net a professional deal at Newcastle United – and cap a remarkable breakthrough at the club.
The talented foward made his debut for loan team Gateshead at the weekend.
Roberts will play for Newcastle in tonight’s Under-21 Premier League Cup tie against Blackburn Rovers at St James’s Park (7pm kick-off).
The 17-year-old is eligible to play for his parent club during his month-long emergency youth loan at the International Stadium.
North Shields-born Roberts caught the eye of departed manager Alan Pardew playing for the Under-21s early in the campaign.
And he was promoted to the first-team training by Pardew, who talked up Roberts’s “technique and ability”. Roberts made his senior debut in the club’s FA Cup defeat to Leicester City earlier this month, and set up one of club-mate Adam Campbell’s two goals in Gateshead’s 2-0 Conference Premier win at Nuneaton Town on Saturday.
The Gazette understands that Roberts, a second-year scholar, has been offered a professional deal by Newcastle.
Roberts, a quick and direct player with an eye for goal, is keen to commit his long-term future to his boyhood club.
He will make his home debut for Gary Mills’ Gateshead on Saturday, when Welling visit the International Stadium.
Striker Campbell, 20, is also on a month-long loan at the promotion-chasing club.
Speaking about the move, Campbell said: “I was hemming and hawing about making the move, but I just thought ‘I want to play games week in, week out’.
“The manager rang me, and told me I’d enjoy it if I came to Gateshead, I’d be playing games, I’d be scoring goals, and I’d be playing with a smile on my face.”
Roberts – who has been scouted by England – has scored three goals so far this season in the Under-21 Premier League Cup.
He netted both Newcastle’s goals in November’s 2-1 win over Crewe Alexandra, and Roberts also found the net in last month’s 4-1 home win over West Ham United.
Meanwhile, United defender Remie Streete is back in training after recovering from a groin injury.
Streete – who could be farmed out on loan again, having been recalled from a spell at League One club Port Vale late last year – has been sidelined the past few weeks.
The 20-year-old has been brought back from Vale Park as defensive cover.