Former Sunderland coach praises 'fantastic' Eddie Howe at Newcastle United following classy gesture

Eddie Howe has been working overtime at Newcastle United since his appointment last month.

The 44-year-old faces the difficult task of keeping United in the Premier League following a 14 game winless start to the season.

But with performances improving and a win against Burnley last time out, there is still plenty of optimism around the club.

While Howe’s main focus is obviously on first-team matters, that hasn’t stopped him paying attention to the club’s under-23s set-up and forming connections at Newcastle’s Benton training base.

Newcastle manager Eddie Howe looks on during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Burnley at St. James Park on December 04, 2021 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Magpies’ under-23s lead player development coach Elliott Dickman described Howe and his coaching staff as ‘fantastic’ following an initial meeting.

“We’ve met him,” the former Sunderland coach said. “They came across and watched some of our training.

"Everybody was introduced and he said hello. Obviously he had the spell where he wasn’t around [due to Covid].

“Obviously he’s very, very busy with the first-team so that will be taking up a lot of his time but the day we met him and his coaching staff, they were fantastic. Very friendly and made a point to speak to us all, so he was good.”

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Part of Dickman's role as lead player development coach is to prepare United’s young players for a potential step-up to the first-team.

Elliot Anderson, 19, has already been involved with the first-team but is currently nursing an injury. Dylan Stephenson is also catching the eye after scoring 12 goals for The Magpies’ second string side so far this season.

Both players are expected to remain at Newcastle for the remainder of the season while other youngsters could be handed an opportunity to impress out on loan in January. But Dickman stressed that the pathway into the first-team still isn’t quite as simple as it seems.

“If they get that opportunity [to work with the first-team], it’s never easy,” he admitted. “It sounds like something that should be straightforward but that opportunity, you’ve got to be ready for and make sure you take it.

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“To be fair to the lads who’ve been up, they have enjoyed it and will probably learn quite a bit but there are still bits they’ve got to try and develop as well."

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