Despite once being a highly rated member of Newcastle’s academy, Rolando Aarons’ career is at a standstill at the age of 22.
The flying winger has not been selected in Rafa Benitez’s 25-man squad for the Premier League, and was unable to secure a loan or permanent move away from St James’ Park over the summer.
As reported by the Chronicle, Aarons was set to appear for the Magpies’ under-21 side in the Checkatrade trophy away to Doncaster, but was withdrawn late on amid rumours of a loan move to a Bulgarian side, where the transfer window remains open.
The former Bristol City player spent the second half of last season on loan at Italian side Verona, and was also linked with a move to France this summer which failed to materialise.
Aarons moved to the North East in 2012 at the age of 16 after being released by Bristol City, and immediately shone for the club’s youth side with his blistering pace and dribbling ability.
He would make his Premier League debut in August 2014 away to Manchester City, before scoring his first senior goal in a 3-3 home draw against Crystal Palace two weeks later. It looked as though this was the beginning of Aarons’ career in the Newcastle first-team, but it was a false dawn for the Jamaican born midfielder.
Injuries derailed his development, and even a drop down to the Championship failed to see Aarons nail down a place in the first team, being subbed off at half time in the Magpies’ opening home game of the season that saw them lose 2-1 to Huddersfield Town.
Two years on and Aarons didn’t even make Benitez’s Premier League squad, despite the limited options that the Spaniard has to his disposal. Along with Adam Armstrong, who left permanently for Blackburn Rovers, Aarons represents a failure by the club’s academy system, that is seeing less and less players break into the first team.
Since Paul Dummett, nobody has came through the youth system and nailed down a place in the senior side, which is exactly why Benitez wants to invest money into restructuring the club’s academy and getting the most out of the young players at the club.
It seemed certain that Aarons would be a first team regular for Newcastle, but for various reasons, the 22-year-old is now as far away from Benitez’s side than he has ever been.