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Lee Clark: Joelinton, Carroll exciting for Newcastle; Right time for Man Utd kids

When Newcastle United signed Miguel Almiron in the January window not many people had heard of him and questioned spending a lot of money on an MLS player...

He came in and undoubtedly excited the fans with his pace and trickery, and I think Joelinton could be very similar in terms of their not being a lot known about him. He's come from a good league in the Bundesliga, and he's a player who's got potential and seems to have the attributes to be strong in the Premier League, in terms of physicality, power and pace.

After getting a run of games he could possibly link up well with Almiron, which would look like an exciting forward line with a plenty of pace, trickery and power, and hopefully between the two of them they can get a fair share of goals.

I think there had to be a signing like this to give us some optimism heading forward. There's been so much negativity since the end of the season and once the news broke that Rafa Benitez was leaving. Now the reality is that the season is not far away, it is right upon us. So back the manager. Steve Bruce's in place and if we're talking about people who want Newcastle to be successful as much as the fans do, he certainly does. He said that there's three or four, possibly more, signings that could follow Joelinton, so let's make sure they are ones that can help the club progress.

There's been some interesting comments from Steve this week when he spoke about taking Hull City to an FA Cup final. He wants to have a right crack at the cup competitions for Newcastle as well. That's music to everyone's ears really because the haven't really done that in many years, they've totally focused on the Premier League. I keep saying it, but the next manager who wins a trophy, whether it be the League Cup or FA Cup, whatever it is, will go down as a legend of Newcastle because it's been that long since a major trophy was won.



CARROLL WOULD BE EXCITING

I know Andy Carroll very well. I was the reserves team manager at Newcastle when he was breaking through. I gave him his opportunity as a young boy in the reserve team and then he quickly had his debut against Palermo in the Europa League.

I watched him develop into a unique striker and the type of striker of his ilk is up there with the very best. The issue that Andy has had, as we all know, is the injury history. If the club could strike a deal where they can cover their back in terms of the injury problems that Andy's had, I'm certainly sure that the fans would be delighted if he was one of our strikers that you could call upon, alongside Joelinton and Almiron.

Certainly for me it would be an exciting signing, but you obviously have to look at the injury background and what's caused certain injuries. There's no guarantees when you sign a player, you've just got to hope that he's injury history is behind him.



GRASP YOUR CHANCE MAN UTD YOUNGSTERS

I've seen a lot of Axel Tuanzebe over the last four or five years coming through the ranks at Manchester United. A big, strong, quick and powerful defender who is comfortable with the ball and likes to get forward. He's certainly one of those players who could push on.

The thing with the young players at Manchester United is that the likes of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Michael Carrick, Nicky Butt, Mike Phelan are all in key positions at the club. The young players will never have a better chance to get into the first-team if they are good enough than right now, because those guys I mentioned were around in the Ferguson era when the philosophy of the club was about developing and bringing young players through.

There should be a lot of optimism in these young players, including Tuanzebe. They should be thinking 'if I produce the goods and get to a level that's required I can be a player for a huge club like Manchester United'.



SIGNINGS AREN'T ALWAYS WHAT YOU EXPECT

In the modern world there is a new era of fans that haven't been around when these clubs - i.e Manchester United and Newcastle in the early 90's, Liverpool - had young players coming through with their own youth policies. These players became successful for those clubs, who gained a substantial amount of money for them when they were moved on. Now everyone thinks it's the quick fix. That you should go and buy the big names. Sometimes the big names don't always deliver.

People are asking the question about Joelinton: 'Oh it's £40m when we've never heard of him'. Well there's players out there that you've never heard of and they could be worth a lot of money, but they just need someone to give them an opportunity to showcase their talents on the big stage. And this is the same with young players. Just because they are young doesn't necessarily mean the big names are better than them. Manchester United is a club that's been built on young players. They have had a recruitment policy that has attracted some of the best talents around the world just because they are a club that will give them an opportunity to play. So just because they are unknown and not the high profile ones everyone thinks you should go and get, it doesn't mean it can't be successful.



LIKE A CERTAIN…

It frustrates me at times when supporters demand their clubs buy the so-called big names. I've been around it myself when I was part of the Newcastle team in the 90's. Nobody really at Newcastle United had heard of David Ginola. He ended up becoming a superstar.

The two and a bit million the club paid for David was quite a bit of money in those days, but not extortionate in terms of what was being paid elsewhere. But he ended up going on to become a Premier League sensation.

So it's not just the young players but also more experienced players who can become quality signings even if they don't have the biggest profile.



I'M WITH KLOPP AND GUARDIOLA

I agree with Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola's criticism of football scheduling. The schedules for players are just so crazy now.

They have done really well if they are getting three weeks off. You think they are playing in high level games, week in, week out, for their clubs in intense competitions like the Premier League, La Liga etc. Then they've got the Champions League or Europa League. Then they've got the World Cup, Copa America, Euros, AFCON, qualifiers.

It's completely taxing on the players both physically and mentally. The fans want to see their main players out there, but I know Klopp and Guardiola will be looking at their stars, who have only had a two-week break, and be questioning whether they are mentally and physically ready, and worrying about pushing them too hard and possibly risking them getting a serious injury. I don't know how they'll balance it out, it's a real tough one.

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Lee Clark
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Lee Clark

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