Since joining Coventry City on loan, Adam Armstrong has been in scintillating form scoring 16 goals in 22 League One appearances. It was confirmed recently that his initial 6 month loan would be extended until the end of the current season. With his parent club Newcastle United struggling for goals, should they have recalled the 18 year old and thrown him in with the big boys in the Premier League?
Armstrong is yet to score a competitive goal for his boyhood club after making his senior debut as a 86th minute substitute against Fulham in March 2014. The striker has gone on to make 15 appearances in all competitions for the Magpies. His most impressive performance in a black and white jersey was in a League Cup tie against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park, where he provided the assist for two goals in a 3-2 victory.
The move to Coventry is Armstrong’s first taste of first team football and he has been excelling. In his first month at the Ricoh Arena, he had won the League One Player of the Month for August having scored 5 goals in his first 5 games. His manager for the Sky Blues has stated that “We know what a talent he is. There are goals in his boots.” This statement from Tony Mowbray seems to indicate that he too is surprised that he was allowed to keep the country’s most in form striker at his club.
Adam has become known for his pace, his confidence in his own ability and strength that belies his small stature. Newcastle United have players that fit into one or two of these categories, but not one that fits the whole bill. The main problem is that scoring goals in League One is a lot different to doing it in the Championship let alone the Premier League.
A lot of talk has been that keeping Armstrong at Coventry is not going to tell Steve McClaren anything that he doesn’t already know, and that he would have been better recalling him and offering him to Championship clubs to see if he can make that step. Although this would make sense, I believe that this change may well have been disruptive to a player that seems to have settled at the Midlands club.
I say let him stay at Coventry for this season, get him back for preseason in the summer and then see how he shapes up next to our senior strikers for next season. Maybe he could be leading the line for us, or maybe it might then be worth seeing if a Championship side is interested, which could be Coventry based on their latest form. The bookies seem to think they are certain for promotion.
As for recalling him and throwing him into the first team at St. James Park, I think it would be detrimental to his career if that happened at this point. Why take a player who is on top of the world in terms of confidence, and lump all this pressure on him where he has to suddenly fire us to safety? This would also not be of any help to the strikers currently here, who would suddenly think that an 18 year old with not much Premier League experience is suddenly more like to score than they are.
Newcastle seem willing to play young attackers with Ayoze Perez and Ivan Toney holding down a place in the first team squad since their arrivals from Tenerife and Northampton respectively, however they do not seem as happy to do this to a player that has been with the club since the age of 9. Now that he has been out on loan though it is best, in my opinion, that he should be left there. Maybe next season we will see Armstrong scoring goals in the Championship as he is likely to be farmed out again, unless of course his beloved club are playing at that level already.