'You never know what’s around the corner' - Chris Hogg on the last 24 hours at Newcastle United
Newcastle United under-23s coach Chris Hogg heaped praise on his young players, several of which were given late call ups for the trip to Harrogate Town.
A positive Covid-19 test for goalkeeper Karl Darlow on Saturday morning forced the senior squad and under-23s to separate in order to minimise mixing.
The Magpies’ first-team squad was originally meant to split into two for pre-season friendlies at York City and Harrogate but that collapsed last minute.
Instead, Steve Bruce’s side travelled to Steve Watson’s York – and suffered a shock 1-0 defeat, while Hogg took a mixture of under-23s and 18s to the EnviroVent Stadium.
Hogg was proud of the young Magpies’ effort as they narrowly lost 2-1 to the League Two side.
“I thought it was a real good day for our boys,” Hogg told the Gazette.
"With the last-minute changes and call ups, the experience they got from coming here is huge for them and their development at this point in the season.
"I’ve got to say fair play to Harrogate in terms of the environment and pitch. It was great to see fans back in which helps our lads massively to get that experience and exposure to it.”
Hogg believes the last 24 hours highlights the unpredictability of football and life, something he wants United’s rising stars to be aware of.
He said: “In football, you’ve got to be adaptable to any situation – that’s a lot of the stuff we talk to these players about in life and in football is that you never know what’s around the corner.
"We got the call and it was just a case of trying to get some messages into these players and pull them together to come and try to give a good account of themselves, which I thought they did great.
"There are loads of things we need to get better at and improve but today is a real positive day for them in terms of growing some confidence back on a big pitch for the first time in pre-season.
"They’ve all come through it fit and healthy, barring Reagan Thomson, which is the most important thing.”
Summer signings Charlie Wiggett, Remi Savage and Cameron Ferguson also made their debuts.