Newcastle United coach praises ‘mature’ striker amid uncertainty over future at club

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Newcastle United transfers: The season is slowly coming to an end and the Magpies have some big transfer and contract decisions to make.

Ben Dawson has praised Dylan Stephenson’s impact in his Under 21’s side after the striker returned from a successful loan spell at South Shields. Stephenson has featured in the first-team during pre-season and mid-season friendlies in the last couple of seasons and even netted during their win over Al-Hilal in Saudi Arabia back in December 2022.

However, he is yet to make a competitive appearance for the senior side and could be one of a number of players that is released by the club once the season concludes. Stephenson netted against Stoke City on his return to Newcastle United after scoring eight goals in 18 games during a loan spell at South Shields under former coach Elliott Dickman.

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Dickman has recently revealed a desire to reunite again with the 21-year-old and Dawson believes that spell at the First Cloud Arena has helped make Stephenson into a more ‘mature’ striker. Dawson told the Gazette: “He’s come back from his loan more mature. He still has the same strengths that we knew he did when he went to South Shields, but he’s had that exposure of a senior dressing room and he’s been more of a vocal leader in the dressing room since he came back. 

“He’s been more of a vocal leader on the training pitch and he’s always been a role model in terms of his work ethic, desire, attitude. You saw that against Aston Villa and on Friday night [v Stoke City], he was leading by example at the top of the pitch so the loan will have done him the world of good in terms of maturing. Pleased to see him back in the team and we hope that the platform we have given him here and that he’s had out on loan will give him a good footing for a career in the league.”

Stephenson isn’t the only member of the Under-21’s squad with first-team experience that could see their time at the Magpies come to an end this summer. Amadou Diallo, who made his Premier League debut against Chelsea back in November, may also leave this summer whilst Kell Watts, who has spent this season on-loan at Wigan Athletic, will join the Latics upon expiration of his Magpies contract this summer.

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