‘You never know’ - Newcastle United coach reacts to 16-year-old’s shock Champions League call up

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Newcastle United’s academy stars have been challenged as they await their opportunity to impress Eddie Howe and his first-team coaching staff.

Newcastle United coach Ben Dawson has urged the Magpies stars of the future to be ready to take any opportunities that may come their way throughout the season.

Several academy players were part of the United squad that travelled to the United States to take part in the Premier League Summer Series as the likes of Alex Murphy, Ben Parkinson, Jamie Miley and Jay Turner-Cooke all got opportunities to impress Eddie Howe.

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Lewis Miley has been rewarded for some highly impressive performances during the Magpies’ pre-season schedule by making his first senior start when he was named in the starting eleven for the Carabao Cup win over Manchester City.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the opening months of the season came in United’s opening Champions League group stage fixture when 16-year-old goalkeeper Aidan Harris was an unused substitute as Howe’s side battled to a goalless draw in the San Siro.

Dawson praised the young stopper’s attitude and challenged a number of his academy prospects to ensure they are ready to take a chance if and when the Magpies’ senior staff come calling.

“You never know when you’re opportunity is going to come - but you have to make sure you are ready for it and you have to make sure you do everything you can to make an impression,” he told NewcastleWorld.

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“Aidan is the type of character and has been that type of character since he came into the building full-time this year. If any player was going to appear and make the most of it, he was going to make sure it was him. The challenge for Aidan now is to not get caught up in it all, continue doing the basics, keep his standards as high as they have been and then we can see where he gets to and what the future holds for him.”

Harris made a number of saves as United’s Under-19s fell to a 2-1 defeat against Borussia Dortmund in their latest UEFA Youth League fixture on Wednesday afternoon.

The Bundesliga club’s youngsters took an early lead when Samuel Bamba’s impressive approach play presented Julian Rijkhoff with a simple finish from close range. Bamba doubled his side’s lead with 53 minutes on the clock but the Magpies benefited from the introduction of substitutes Anthony Munda and Sean Neave.

It was England Under-17 international Neave that gave the Magpies some hope of mounting a comeback when he halved the deficit with 15 minutes remaining but an equaliser remained out of reach United suffered a third group stage defeat in as many games.

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The Magpies development coach admitted his side were punished for an underwhelming display during the opening 45 minutes that he felt left them ‘facing a losing battle’ during the second-half.

He said: “I think the first-half was not what we expect from our lads and certainly not what we expect in terms of intensity and looking like you want to be here given the magnitude of the game and the situation we are in with the group.

“That was certainly disappointing, we made that clear to the players at half-time in no uncertain terms and got a bit of a response in the second-half, which was pleasing. As the game wore on we got stronger and stronger, the lads came off the bench and made an impact but after the first-half we were facing a losing battle.”

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