ADAM Campbell could be Newcastle United’s super-sub against Maritimo tonight.
The teenager became the youngest player to represent the club when he came off the bench against Atromitos in Athens last month.
Campbell was just 17 years and 236 days old when he made it on to the pitch at the Peristeri Stadium, the striker beating a record previously held by Andy Carroll.
And Campbell is likely to be among the substitutes for the Europa League group stage game at the Estadio dos Barreiros tonight.
He scored in Tuesday night’s reserve derby against Sunderland at St James’s Park – and was boarding the team’s flight to Madeira yesterday morning.
“He’s a lovely kid,” Pardew told the Gazette. “Obviously, we’re trying to shelter him a little bit from the glare of publicity and just let him develop.
“If we can do that, we’ve got a chance with him. He’s got natural talent, great movement, and he’s a footballer’s footballer. Players like him – you can’t help but admire him.
“He’s busy as anything, and has got great quality too. Whether he features or not, I don’t know. There’s a lot of senior boys in front of him.”
North Shields-born Campbell, a boyhood Newcastle fan, has dreamed of playing for the club all his young life.
And Pardew’s confident all his players value the club’s famous jersey.
“Playing for this football club is an honour for anybody, it really is,” he said. “To put that black and white shirt on in any game is a great privilege.
“They should never forget that, and I’ll make sure they won’t.”
The likes of Dan Gosling and Haris Vuckic are expected to be in Pardew’s side against Maritimo, and the pressure is on them to deliver.
“They’re not youngsters, some of these players,” said Pardew. “They should be playing in the first team.
“They probably would be at Championship level, or maybe lower Premier League. Our team is tough to get into.
“This competition, and the Capital One Cup, will give opportunities to players to show that they’re good enough.
“We’ve got to show faith in them, and that’s what I’m going to do.
“Regardless what the Press or anybody else thinks, I’ve got to go with what I see on the training ground, and I think they’re good enough.”
The Gazette’s Europa League coverage is in association with UTS Engineering Ltd. http://www.uts-ltd.com/