PETER Beardsley has backed Callum Roberts and Adam Campbell to have a “big future” at Newcastle United – and fire Gateshead into the Football League.
The attacking duo are to stay on loan for the rest of the season with Gateshead, who are battling for a play-off place in the Conference.
Campbell has played four times so far, scoring three times, while Roberts has played twice, and impressed on his debut in a win at Nuneaton Town.
Roberts – who signed his first professional contract at Newcastle last month – was described by the club’s Under-21 coach Beardsley earlier this season as the “pick of the bunch” emerging at United, and the 17-year-old made his senior debut for the club in the FA Cup loss at Leicester in January.
Both are now getting first-team experience at Gateshead, while under the terms of their youth loan, they have still been eligible to play for Newcastle’s development side.
That meant they were both able to start Newcastle’s Under-21 Premier League Cup quarter-final against Blackburn Rovers at St James’s Park last month, which the Magpies lost 1-0, while Roberts has starred in the club’s FA Youth Cup run.
Beardsley feels the deal to take the pair to Gateshead was a win-win for all parties, and now wants them to help the Conference outfit to promotion.
He told the Gazette: “It’s good for them that they’re at Gateshead, and it was good for Adam to score two goals on his debut against Nuneaton.
“I know Callum did well in that game, too, so it’s a good experience for them.
“It’s also good that they can still play for us, as it’s great for them to play at St James’s. That’s something that money can’t buy.
“The deal benefits all parties. If I’m being really selfish, I’d like Gateshead to get promoted, and if our two can help them do that, then great.
“We hope they’ll both have a big future. We like them, they’re part of our set-up, and they’ve just got to try to get to the next level.”
Campbell, 20, is out of contract at Newcastle at the end of the season, so will hope to earn a new deal through his performances at Gateshead.
The Heed are 11th in the Conference heading into the business end of the season, and are seven points off the play-off places.
However, they have as many as four games in hand on some of the sides above them, and if they do reach the play-offs – as they did last season – Roberts and Campbell will be eligible.
Manager Gary Mills was delighted to secure the future of the pair until the end of the season ahead of today’s game against Nuneaton at the International Stadium.
Mills told Gateshead’s official website: “It’s good news. With Alex Rodman available for (today) as well, it’s a real bonus at this stage of the season.
“We’ll have both of them available if we do – fingers crossed – make it to the play-offs, which is great for us. Now we’re looking forward to the challenge ahead – we have to show that we have that desire and self-belief to make it into that top five.”