The kids aren’t United

Last updated : 27 June 2003 By Martyn Elliott

After a promising start to his first team career McClen has found himself relegated to the reserves by the arrivals of Jermaine Jenas, Hugo Viana and now Lee Bowyer, and it is a pattern that he believes will blight the Newcastle careers of many others.

"Newcastle is a buying club now, there's no doubt about it," he told The Journal.

"That is good for the fans, they have got Champions League football. But it is not very good for the young players who are hoping to make a breakthrough at St James's Park.

"There are a lot of good young lads at the club but things don't look that great for them. It's a very frustrating position to be in, I know that from first-hand experience.

"It has happened to me and it will happen to the others eventually. I did absolutely nothing last season and it was a very hard time for me."

While there has to be some sympathy for McClen’s view there is evidence that the trend is changing with Aaron Hughes, Steve Cladwell and Shola Ameobi valuable squad members and Michael Chopra set to join them soon.

It is sad to say but the Academy hasn’t really produced the right quality of player in the past few years and it is difficult to name too many youngsters who have left the club and established themselves in the Premiership. But there is little doubt that Sir Bobby will use youngsters if they are good enough, and with the amount of youth internationals currently on the books it can’t be too long before they start to graduate into the first team.

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