ALAN Pardew says Newcastle United’s younger players have been given a “wake-up” call during the club’s injury crisis.
Pardew has delved heavily into the development squad in recent months.
And he candidly admits he’s been disappointed with the level of performance from some players, not least against Brighton and Hove Albion last weekend when Newcastle were dumped out of the FA Cup.
With the injured list running into double figures, the likes of Mehdi Abeid, James Tavernier and Sammy Ameobi were all handed starts.
Midfielder Abeid, for whom Pardew had high hopes when he joined in the summer of 2011, was particularly disappointing.
Pardew – who will name a much stronger team against Norwich City tomorrow – is adamant that ability needs to be backed up with attitude and application if a player is to stay at the club.
“We have had a wake-up call in terms of younger players,” Pardew said. “Playing three or four of them at a time will be very difficult for them – that’s in their defence.
“On the negative side, they should be doing better. They need to work harder and improve their work ethic.
“It is a lesson to Adam Campbell and to Remie Streete that when you come in, you have to be ready.
“The next 17 games for (Shane) Ferguson, Sammy Ameobi and Tavernier are a massively important for them.
“In the summer, trust me, I’ll be making changes if I don’t see better performances from them.”
In the Premier League Academy era, young players no longer clean boots, with the emphasis solely on their football education.
“It is all done for them,” added Pardew. “You could argue if you were a supporter who’s struggling to find the money for a ticket, why is that the case?
“Why aren’t they working harder or doing jobs? Sometimes I think they should do the jobs as well, but you’re talked out of it because it is more professional to work on their game.
“Let’s start seeing that then, and if they aren’t good enough they’ll go – the whole development group.”
Newcastle were knocked out of the Northumberland Senior Cup on Tuesday night by non-league club Bedlington Terriers.
Pardew went on: “We got beat by a non-league team – really out-muscled on a difficult pitch.
“We can make loads of excuses. At the end of the day, we’re running out of excuses.
“The whole group’s going to get a real wake-up call in the summer unless I see some significant improvement.”
Pardew – who upped the workrate for the club’s reserve-team squad late last year – recalls an anecdote from his playing career.
“When I played under Steve Coppell at Palace, I’d played 14 or 15 games and I suggested I was on low money,” he said. “And he kindly suggested to me to knock on his door after I’d played 50 games.
“The problem we have in this world is that the money has changed considerably from my time.
“They’re getting very, very well paid for not having to do a great deal. Our fans need to know that they are working extra hard.”