Byline: Mark Douglas
ALAN Pardew has received support from one of the most influential voices in the English game for risking his own reputation and Newcastle United's season on the shoulders of the club's younger players.
Just as they did in the early stages of the Europa League, United will use the Capital One Cup to hand a crop of younger players the chance to prove they have the ability to progress into bona fide Newcastle players.
Sammy Ameobi, Shane Ferguson, James Tavernier and Haris Vuckic are among those who will benefit from what Pardew says is an "unprecedented" opportunity. Some have said that it is treating the supplementary competitions with contempt, but support for the policy has come from the heart of English football, with the FA's head of youth development Sir Trevor Brooking praising the "bravery" of the Newcastle manager. He tells The Journal that Pardew's blueprint is exactly the sort of vision that the Football Association are trying to encourage at Premier League clubs.
"As long as Alan explains what he's trying to do and makes it clear then I think it can work," Brooking said.
"I just hope that the brave decision of Alan pays off, and if we get one or two success stories, other managers may try it. I'm pleased Alan is doing it, he's a strong character and he's aware while they are getting the points in the Premier League he can do it."
While Sir Trevor's support is a timely fillip for Pardew, the decision to blood the younger players has to be put in context.
It should also be acknowledged that this is a strategy that has split the opinion of supporters, many of whom were dismayed at the lack of senior players imported during the summer transfer window. They see it as doing things "on the cheap".
But Pardew insists the philosophy is essential to the "growth" of the club, and that promoting from within and showing a bit of ingenuity in their selection policy is the only way they can possibly compete with clubs with greater resources.
Sir Trevor frames it in the context of the competing priorities of a Premier League manager, but picks out the younger Ameobi brother as the sort of player who has the ability to thrive in the Premier League - but now needs the opportunities.
"It's a discussion we've had a lot in the FA," he revealed.
"Roy (England coach Roy Hodgson) invited some of the under-21 development coaches up from the Academies in the Premier League and we've discussed the opportunities young players get.
"Some of the players like Sammy (Ameobi) and the like will definitely be good enough to play in the games we're talking about - in the Capital One Cup or the Europa League. It's certainly much better for the game in this country. They can deal with it and it's got to be better than bringing in players from overseas who are in their mid-twenties who have played 100 games - but it's not easy to see them being that much better than young English talent.
"It's a balance, of course. …