Newcastle United are in dire straits right now and desperately need a lift from somewhere.

As the Magpies struggle, however, many miles away in Plymouth a future star could be emerging.

Kelland Watts is currently on loan with the Pilgrims and on Tuesday night he helped them secure a 2-1 win over Sunderland.

Any occasion where the Black Cats lose is a nice one but when the defeat is inflicted with the help of a Newcastle player, it’s even better.

(Photo; Serena Taylor; Newcastle United; Getty Images)

Watts has been an instrumental figure in Ryan Lowe’s team during their maiden campaign back in the third tier.

He has started every game at centre-back and is clearly growing in confidence.

Some statistics highlight what he is perhaps doing well at Home Park too.

According to Who Scored, Watts is sat fifth in the League One player charts when it comes to most clearances.

The 21-year-old has made 103 successful clearances from his 23 appearances.

Interestingly, the Newcastle youngster has also attempted 1272 passes this season – a stat which is also the fifth most in the league.

The two statistics don’t really go hand in hand. What it does highlight perhaps is that Watts is willing to mix up his defending depending on different situations.

As a youngster that could put him in good shape for a return to St James’ Park in the summer – and for the rest of his career.


What next for Watts?

On current form, it’s hard to imagine Steve Bruce sill being in place as the club’s manager by the time the defender returns.

People behind the scenes at Newcastle must be delighted with the youngster’s progress though and is tied to a deal until 2023.

The talented performer is developing through the ranks at quite a rate and each year is seemingly bringing progression.

Last season he played 20 games at Stevenage and a further on loan with Mansfield both in League Two.

Now he’s playing week in and week out in the league above and the statistics show he is doing well.

One factor in Watts’ favour for next season is that the Magpies aren’t blessed with lots of centre-backs.

Federico Fernandez and Fabian Schar are both out of contract in the summer, essentially leaving Jamaal Lascelles and Ciaran Clark as senior options.

Whoever is in charge going into next season, it seems clear that Watts is well worth a chance.

Newcastle have enjoyed plenty of success with academy graduates over the years and it’s a transfer strategy that fans would buy into.

After helping plot Sunderland’s downfall on Tuesday, Watts might find himself tackling Premier League football in the not so distant future.

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