Where are they now? Newcastle’s ‘most promising youngster’ award winners

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Newcastle United have always put plenty of faith in local lads, be it by breaking their transfer record for Alan Shearer or bringing through the likes of Steve Harper and Shola Ameobi.

Sean Longstaff is the latest to fit that description, breaking into the first team under Rafa Benitez and scoring his first Premier League goal in a win over Burnley at the end of February.

Liam Gibson was the last recipient of the Jack Hixon Trophy, awarded for Tyneside’s most promising youngster and named after the scout who discovered Shearer, but how have the previous winners fared?

2010 – Remie Streete

Streete, who was born in Aylesbury but brought up in the North East, joined Newcastle at the age of 13 and looked set for a bright future when he won the inaugural award.

However, after suffering a serious injury in 2012, he was unable to kick on. The defender stuck around until 2015, spending a fruitless spell on loan at Rangers towards the end of that period, before moving to Port Vale.

Streete was released by the Potteries club in 2017 and has yet to find himself a new club.

2011 – Adam Campbell

Unlike Streete, Campbell at least got a few Premier League games under his belt as a Newcastle player, coming on for Yoan Gouffran in a win over Stoke City in 2012.

A forward, Campbell managed five games in his first season – three in the league and two in Europe – but that’s as good as it got. After five loan spells, he finally left permanently in 2015 to join Notts County.

North Shields-born Campbell is now at Morecambe in League Two but has not made an appearance since returning from a loan spell at Carlisle in January.

2012 – Alex Gilliead

Gilliead represented England at a number of underage levels, from U16 up to U20, but never made an appearance for Newcastle’s first team.

He has at least made an appearance against Premier League opposition taking on Everton in the FA Cup during a loan stint at Carlisle United, and he eventually left Newcastle for good in the summer of 2018.

Gilliead has been a regular for his new club Shrewsbury Town, starting in the surprise FA Cup third round replay win at Stoke and getting more than an hour in the fourth round replay defeat at Wolves.

2013 – Adam Armstrong

Armstrong played a lot more for Newcastle than most of the others on this list, with 19 of his 21 games coming when the Magpies were a Premier League club.

The young striker looked set for big things after a 20-goal season on loan at Coventry in 2015-16 but left St James’ Park without finding the net in a competitive game.

After helping Blackburn Rovers earn promotion to the Championship, Armstrong joined Tony Mowbray’s squad on a permanent basis over the summer.

2014 – Mackenzie Heaney

Still on Tyneside, Heaney now plays for non-league side Newcastle Benfield down in the ninth tier.

The attacking midfielder is still just 20 years old but never had any opportunities for the first team, while Norwich opted not to pick him up after he spent a week on trial with them.

He signed a first professional contract with Newcastle in July 2017, saying “hopefully first of many”, but it wasn’t to be and he was released by the club a year later.

2015 – Freddie Woodman

Not originally a local lad, Woodman was signed from Crystal Palace as a 16-year-old before winning the award a couple of years later. He’s the son of former Newcastle goalkeeping coach Andy Woodman and Godson to Gareth Southgate.

He’s already had four spells on loan – at Hartlepool, Kilmarnock, Crawley and Aberdeen – but his career highlights to date are with the England youth set-ups. He won the Under-17s Euros back in 2014, the Under-20 World Cup in 2017, saving a penalty against Venezuela in the final, and was awarded the Golden Gloves award for goalkeeper of the tournament.

He’s yet to make a senior league appearance for Newcastle but has often sat on the bench as second fiddle to Martin Dubravka, and was selected by Rafael Benitez for the FA Cup games against Blackburn and Watford.

2016 – Owen Gallacher

Gallacher never made it near the first team after being a regular for the Under-17s and Under-23s and was released in 2018 without ever signing a senior contract.

He made the switch to Nottingham Forest’s academy and has been retained as a first-year scholar.

The midfielder was reportedly scouted by Everton, Liverpool and both Manchester clubs a couple of years ago.

2017 – Callum Roberts

The 21-year-old winger can still harbour hopes of breaking through at Newcastle after scoring his first goal for the club in the 4-2 win over Blackburn in the third round of the FA Cup.

After spells with Gateshead and Kilmarnock in the past, Roberts joined League Two play-off chasers Colchester on loan in January but has since been recalled by Newcastle after limited opportunities in Essex.

2018 – Sean Longstaff

Longstaff has been one of the rare talents to make the step-up to the senior team in recent years and earned rave reviews when he took advantage of injuries in Newcastle’s midfield to establish himself as one of their best options.

With a string of dedicated, energetic performances, his time in the team had coincided with Newcastle’s best spell of the season as they’ve dragged themselves away from the relegation zone.

After recently scoring his first Premier League goal in a 2-0 win over Burnley, he’s since suffered a knee injury and will miss the rest of the season.

2019 – Liam Gibson

The County Durham-born left-back was the latest recipient of the award at a function in early March.

After suffering ulcerative colitis, forcing him out of action for two years, Gibson’s made a remarkable recovery and impressed for the Under-23s this season.

“I think the award is the final cherry on top of the cake,” he told the official NUFC website.

“I’m really pleased to win the award and when you look at the past winners – the likes of Sean Longstaff – he’s now got several Premier League appearances to his name so hopefully, I can push on and maybe get to where he is.”


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