Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew is delighted with local lad Michael Richardson.

Pardew appreciates the 20-year-old former electrician and Walker Central midfielder.

"He is a player very close to my heart," Pardew told the Sunday Sun.

"I really, really want him to be playing in our first team. He has a long way to do that but his attitude and application has been a breath of fresh air.

"Footballers are sometimes closeted from the real world.

"They come through an academy system where everything is taken care of and think it is all going to be easy.

"No one has worked harder than Michael to be a pro because he has seen this side of it.

"It is more difficult to make the step up now because the Premier League is a higher standard. It is a world league."