One of Newcastle’s own, Shola Ameobi, could be set to return to the club as part of the revamp of the youth set-up at St James’ Park.
The position – not to be confused with the legendary cowboy law enforcer, who rode alongside Tonto – is part of the overhaul of the academy, youth and reserve set-up behind the scenes at the club.
It was Rafa Benitez who requested the changes, and was thought to be an integral condition to be included in any negotiations over an extension to his contract.
That the Spaniard’s advice has been heeded is a good sign, and will put a tick in one of the boxes on his list of demands.
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Shola has been away from Newcastle United for five years, and a position at his boyhood club will see him come full circle as his playing career winds down.
Neil Redfearn is expected to be appointed as the new Under-23 coach, with both he and Ameobi, working under last season’s second string boss Ben Dawson.
Loans are vital in the development of Newcastle’s youngsters
After a season that included a number of disastrous loan spells for some of the Magpies’ younger prospects, it is an area that needed to be addressed.
Having someone in a full-time role to organise the right moves for players, and then to keep an eye on their progress once the deal is finalised, can only be a good thing for the football club.
Elias Sorenson was the highest profile case last season, of a loan that went wrong.
His spell at Blackpool was meant to give the player plenty of first-team experience, but instead saw him sit on the sidelines for most of the time, without even getting any reserve team games.
Similar scenarios played out for both Jamie Sterry at Crewe, and Cal Roberts at Colchester.
With the loan system being such an important part of a young player’s development in modern football, Newcastle need to get the selection of their loan arranger right.
Whether Ameobi is considered to be that person remains to be seen. But creating the role in the first place is a positive step.