Newcastle United Under-19s kicked off their UEFA Youth League campaign with a heavy defeat to AC Milan ahead of the senior side’s Champions League opener.
While Eddie Howe is preparing the first-team for their Champions League clash with AC Milan, the Toon youngsters have been competing in the UEFA Youth League. They will face the Rossoneri, Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund in the competition, just like Newcastle’s senior team.
While Howe’s team will look to be competitive in the UCL, the Youth League is going to be very challenging for the Magpies’ Under-19s side. And they got off to a really poor start over in Italy.
The young Magpies, managed by Ben Dawson, were beaten 4-0 by AC Milan’s Under-19s side. The Italians were a class above, completely dominating their opponents in the sweltering heat.
The Newcastle defence could not handle Francesco Camarda, the 15-year-old who scored a brace in the first half.
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There were some bright moments for the Magpies. Ben Parkinson was lively, and really should have scored in the first half. Elsewhere, Jamie Miley, older brother of Lewis Miley, looked composed in possession when he was able to get on the ball.
However, overall it was a chastening experience for Newcastle, who look likely to struggle in this competition.
Newcastle teens struggle against AC Milan in front of Dan Ashworth
Newcastle’s defeat was watched on by Dan Ashworth, who is the club’s Sporting Director. The Toon team included multiple players who he has brought to the club, including summer signing Cathal Heffernan and deadline day recruit Travis Hernes.
However, the game against Milan showed how far behind Newcastle are at youth level.
There is no shame in that. The club overachieved last season in qualifying for the Champions League, which is the reason why the youngsters are competing in this competition.
But they are facing the best of the best at their age, and it was very clear on Tuesday afternoon that AC Milan were simply much better. They were a class above. As the cliche goes, it was men against boys.
For Ashworth, he will have learnt a lot from the game. He will have known how tough it was going to be, and will have plans in place to ensure the youth sides become more competitive in the future.