Report: Eddie Howe impressed by Kell Watts during Newcastle pre-season
Report: Kell Watts has impressed Eddie Howe during Newcastle's pre-season
Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images

Report: Kell Watts has impressed Eddie Howe during Newcastle's pre-season

Eddie Howe is currently casting his eye over the Newcastle United squad in Austria, and one player who has impressed him is Kell Watts.

The youngster is training with the first-team after spending last season on loan at Wigan where he helped the Latics win promotion to the Championship.

Newcastle have played one friendly so far, beating Gateshead 5-1 in a game that was held behind closed doors. Howe shuffled his pack and tried to give every available player 45 minutes of action.

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However, Watts was the only Toon player to complete the full 90. That was an interesting decision, and it could be indicative of how the 22-year-old has caught the eye on Tyneside.

Why Howe is impressed by Watts during pre-season

According to the Athletic, the Magpies manager has been impressed with what he’s seen from Watts. They state that Howe appreciates his ability on the ball and his decision making.

Those are the type of qualities you would want to see from a modern day defender, so it could suggest that Watts has a future at St James’ Park.

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He has only ever played for the first-team once, coming off the bench at home to Liverpool in the final game of the 2019/20 season.

However, while Howe is a fan, it looks like Watts’ immediate future lies away from Tyneside. The Athletic add that he is still expected to leave on loan.

Hopefully that’s to a Championship club, having spent the past two seasons in League One. A return to Wigan would surely appeal, and they are reportedly keen on a reunion.

Long term, the defender will hope to force his way into the Magpies’ Premier League squad. However, it will be difficult given the club’s newfound wealth.

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Newcastle have splashed out on two centre-backs already since the change of ownership. Dan Burn arrived for £13million and now Sven Botman is here, costing £35million.

It’s very difficult to see how Watts can become a Newcastle regular, but perhaps his chances will increase with another successful loan spell.

But Howe is a fan of the local lad, and he will hope to impress more during pre-season.