ALAN Pardew says he won’t “shy away” from blooding in Newcastle United’s teenage striker Adam Armstrong – but he will wait until the time is right.
The 17-year-old came off the bench to make his debut at Fulham last month.
And fans are hoping to see more of Armstrong, who has signed a professional contract at the club.
Armstrong impressed playing for England in the recent Elite Round of the European Under-17 Championships.
With Newcastle in desperate need of ideas, inspiration and above all goals, many supporters are questioning why Armstrong hasn’t had more of a chance.
But Pardew said: “There are two things with Armstrong.
“We’re not playing well. I have to think about the affect that might have for him to come in, make his debut in a team not functioning well.
“Also, is he completely ready? He isn’t.
“It’s very much a question of being more careful for the player than for me.
“It would be easy to stick him in the team to a degree and get a pat on the back, and the lad suffers on the pitch.
“I’m not prepared to do that. I’m not going to put him in jeopardy.
“I do hope, before the end of season, we can get in a position where we can introduce him in the right manner for the way he has conducted himself around the training ground.
“How good he is, we don’t know yet.”
Pardew is proud of his record in developing young players, having handed Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain (Southampton), Mark Noble (West Ham United) and Jonjo Shelvey (Charlton Athletic) their debuts.
“I’m very conscious of my record as a manager,” he said.
“I won’t ever shy away from introducing young players.”
l TEENAGE defender Jamie Sterry has been handed another year by Newcastle United – as he attempts to prove himself at the club.
The 18-year-old is being kept on after impressing this season.
Sterry – who has overcome a niggling back problem which sidelined him for part of last season – is a pacy and tough-tackling right-back.
And he has established himself at Under-21 level over the past 16 months.
The challenge for Sterry now is to earn himself a professional deal at Newcastle, whose academy was recently awarded “Category One” status by the Premier League.
United are “focused” on improving the flow of players into the first-team squad, according to senior manager Alan Pardew.
Under-21s coach Peter Beardsley added: “The gaffer (Pardew) is really interested in bringing young players through. It gives you hope that you’ll get a chance if you keep doing well.”
Meanwhile, Newcastle’s Under-21s play Manchester City at Whitley Park on Monday night (7pm kick-off).