Joe Joyce

By Dan King

Excited but nervous - that's how Newcastle's new intake of Academy scholars will feel on Thursday when they report to Little Benton, according to Joe Joyce.

The excitement will come from prospect of playing football full-time for United, of turning out for the Under-18s and perhaps even being involved with the Reserves.

But the nerves will be caused by stepping up from a couple of training sessions a week to as many as six during the pre-season period.

Lewis Aird, Adam Campbell, Aidan Grant, Alexander Kitchen, Steven Logan, Jonathan Mitchell, Remie Streete and Will Turton are the new boys.

Striker Campbell, defender Streete and goalkeeper Mitchell have already made their Reserve team debuts as schoolboys, but this is the start of a new chapter for them all.

"It will be exciting but they'll also be nervous," Academy Manager Joyce told nufc.co.uk. "They have just finished their GCSEs at school, then they've had a little bit of time to relax before they come in and start what will hopefully be a successful football career for them.

"Those first couple of days, they will be nervous about stepping in full-time. But we know the lads; they've been around the Academy for quite a number of years now so it's nothing new to them.

"The programme won't be any different other than the fact that they'll be full-time. Some adapt to it very, very quickly but with some it takes a number of months to get used to the full-time training and that's something that we factor in throughout the current season in terms of their development.

"They won't find it a culture shock, because they've been around the Academy and around the coaches for a number of years now but what they will find difficult is the physicality of training two or three times a day. They are used to evening sessions or one full day session but when it comes to pre-season, six days a week, it does become a very physical activity for them.

"And I know from experience that they'll leave here at 4.30 in the afternoon and all they'll do is sleep til they come back the next morning!

"That's part of being a professional footballer and the programme itself is very structured to each individual's needs. But you can't get away from the fact that it will be hard work."

Last season, first-years like Michael Riley and Alex Nicholson progressed to the Reserves while Ben Sayer and Louis Storey were virtual ever-presents in Joyce's Under-18 side.

And he hopes some of this year's group will follow suit.

"Some people surprise you," he said. "With some people, you think it'll take a little bit of time and yet they're there right from day one forcing the issue for themselves.

"That's great and that's what we want."

Meanwhile Nathan Evans, Andy Mogwo, Ryan Page and Ben Robinson have left the club.