There have been plenty of plaudits for Newcastle United U23s players this season, but promising talent Callum Roberts is still somehow flying under the radar.
Newcastle fans have been impressed by the progress of youngsters Sean Longstaff, Jamie Sterry and Elias Sorensen this season.
Sorensen in particular has dominated headlines with his goal scoring feats, and is now top scorer in Premier League 2, Division 2.
Longstaff and Sterry meanwhile have both made first-team appearances in the Carabao Cup this season and are awaiting further opportunities.
However, one player the fans and media have not given much thought is winger Callum Roberts.
Despite being overshadowed in the press by his teammates, Roberts has quietly been one of the side’s best players this season.
The 21-year-old hit a brace against Stoke U23s on Monday, and it’s about time he got his share of recognition.
Stats to rival Sorensen
Much has been made of Sorensen’s 16 goal tally this season, but Roberts has actually been involved in more when including assists.
He has scored 11 goals and bagged eight assists in just 15 games this season.
This means he has been involved in a total of 19 goals, whereas Sorensen’s total with assists is just 18.
The winger was the star of the show against Stoke U23s, his dribbling and passing ability both typically impressive.
But it’s his finishing which has really improved this season, having scored eight times in his last eight games.
Fans should be particularly pleased with his progress as he is a local lad, hailing from South Shields.
But with little chance of first-team football at Newcastle, a loan move in January is vital for his development.
Loan move for Roberts?
Roberts has went out on loan twice in the past but saw little success on either occasion.
In 2015 he played just three times for Gateshead in the National League, managing one assist.
And in 2017 he made 11 appearances while on loan at Scottish side Kilmarnock, but also made little impact there.
However it’s important to remember those loan moves were at the age of 17 and 19. He has improved immeasurably since then and will be ready to test himself again at a higher level. Roberts has already shown this season he can compete against top EFL sides in the Checkatrade trophy.
His dream is to play for Newcastle, but he knows a loan move is his only real chance to impress Rafa Benitez.
Speaking to The Chronicle in September, Roberts said: “You aren’t going to get noticed too much playing in the Under-21s or Under-23s.
“But on the bigger nights in the Checkatrade Trophy, you have to stand out and impress. I think I’ve done that so far and the rest of the team have as well.
“Hopefully I can get that loan move in January.”