Revisiting Newcastle United’s Football Manager 2011 wonderkids, 10 years on

Quick Reads

2011 was one of those rare years when optimism was relatively high among Newcastle United fans. 

Under Chris Hughton, the club had bounced straight back from relegation to the Championship and finished in an admirable 12th place in the Premier League.

Things would get even better in the 2011-12 campaign as Alan Pardew guided the Magpies to fifth – yes fifth – in the top flight, with the likes of Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse, Yohan Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa making them one of the most entertaining sides in the country.

But who were the young up and comers of the time? Those tasked with making the club’s future a successful one? Back in 2011, FM Scout picked out three ‘wonderkids’ from that edition of the game.

Here we take a look at what happened to them…

Tamas Kadar 

Born in Hungary, Kadar spent his formative footballing years with local club Zalaegerszeg. He also spent time on trial at Bolton Wanderers before opting for a move to the North East in 2008.

He was unveiled as a Newcastle player on the same day Kevin Keegan announced his return as manager following the sacking of Sam Allardyce.

In the early stages of his time with the club, he played predominantly in the reserves, breaking his leg in a clash with Sunderland at that level.

Chris Hughton gave him his break in the Championship. Although he was behind Steven Taylor and Fabricio Coloccini in the pecking order, he performed well when called upon. It was ultimately this season that saw him touted as a wonderkid by football manager.

He was released by Pardew in 2012, however, and can now be found plying his trade in the Chinese Superleague with Shandong Luneng, having also enjoyed spells in the Netherlands, Hungary, Poland and Ukraine.

READ: Newcastle’s Forgotten Entertainers: I lost 70% of the vision in my right eye

Dan Gosling 

After Everton signed Gosling from Plymouth Argyle in January 2008, there was a genuine sense that he was a hot prospect.

He broke into the first team in December, netting his first goal against Sunderland in a 3-0 win at Goodison Park in his second match. That performance saw him receive a standing ovation from his team-mates in the changing room.

In February of that season, he famously scored an extra-time winner against Liverpool in an FA Cup replay, a goal missed by millions thanks to a broadcast error.

He was unlucky following his move to Newcastle in 2010. A knee injury early on ruined his chances of establishing a place in the first team and by the time he was fit again, the formidable pairing of Yohan Cabaye and Cheick Tiote had those spots nailed down.

Gosling only found the net once for the club – a consolation in a 3-1 loss to Manchester City in 2011 – and by 2013, found himself out on loan with Blackpool.

Leaving Newcastle ended up being for the best. He spent seven years with Bournemouth, winning promotion to the top flight. He currently plays for Watford in the second tier and is battling for promotion again.

READ: A forensic analysis of Dan Gosling’s Merseyside Derby goal missed by ITV

Haris Vuckic

The Slovenian was only 17 upon the release of Football Manager in 2011 and was regarded as one of the brightest talents in Europe when he signed for Newcastle in 2009 from Domzale as a 15-year-old.

After scoring on his debut for the reserves, expectations began to rise further. It was not until the 2009-10 campaign that he got a taste of first-team action, getting a handful of opportunities in the League Cup, and in January 2011 he was handed a new five-year deal by Hughton.

He was substituted just seven minutes into his Premier League debut against Fulham after apparently dislocating his finger but went on to earn his first top-flight start against West Brom in December.

In the following campaign, he ensured Newcastle qualified for the Europa League group stages, scoring the winner against Atromitos.

However, after that campaign, it all came to a halt for Vukcic in the black and white shirt. He stayed with the club until 2017 but spent time away on five different loan spells with Cardiff, Rotherham, Wigan, Rangers and Bradford.

He finally left Newcastle for FC Twente on a permanent deal and now plays for Zaragoza in the Spanish second tier.

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