'Terrific' Newcastle United teenager pushing for first-team call-up following brace against Sunderland
Newcastle United youngster Dylan Stephenson impressed once again with a derby brace against Sunderland under-23s.
For his first goal, he turned brilliantly in the penalty area before lashing home from close range while his second was an instinctive striker’s finish to poke in Lucas De Bolle’s parried effort.
Following the match, Newcastle under-23s lead player development coach Elliott Dickman praised the 18-year-old’s impact.
“I thought Dylan [Stephenson] was terrific – really pleased,” he said. “He’s somebody who does all the work for the team in the final third and to get his two goals is really good for him personally.
“Really delighted. He goes about his day-to-day business really well, works hard every single day and is a genuine lad.
"He gives his all when he plays, as you can see. [I’m] just delighted he scored two really good goals.”
Stephenson has been utilised as both a central striker and a winger for United’s second string side so far this season.
And Dickman believes the teenager is well suited to make an impact whether through the middle or out wide.
“The fact he is adaptable and can play both positions will help him,” the 43-year-old added. “That’s a good strength for him to have within his game.
“He can do either role well. The important thing is that he develops and learns in both positions.
“The fact that his attitude is really good, he works really hard. I believe he has improved a hell of a lot over the time since he has been in with the academy from a technical point of view.
“You see his first goal [against Sunderland], it’s terrific. He shows really good composure and it’s a really good finish.
“He’s prepared to make those runs which will help him, whether he’s playing wide or down the middle.”
Stephenson signed his first professional deal at Newcastle in the summer and is expected to remain at the club for the rest of the 2021-22 season opposed to being loaned out.
And with the first-team drawing League One side Cambridge United at home in the FA Cup first round, that will be seen as a target for the young forward to make his senior breakthrough.
Reflecting on Monday night’s win, Stephenson told NUFC.co.uk: “We're absolutely buzzing with the win.
“It's always a good feeling beating Sunderland too – it's just brilliant.
“I'm very pleased with my own performance and helping to get two goals for the team.
“I think I played really well, getting into the right areas especially with the second goal when I followed it in. That's what I've been taught to do.
“For my first goal, I'd seen the defender sprinting in towards me fast so I quickly chopped inside and was then able to score.
“I've now scored ten goals in the league and to do that just before Christmas is a very good feeling.”