By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Willie Donachie praised Jamaican teenager Rolando Aarons after the 17-year-old from Kingston scored his first Barclays Under-21 Premier League goal to give Newcastle a share of the spoils against Crystal Palace on Monday night.
The former Bristol City winger, who joined United following a successful trial at the end of last season, replaced Lee Desmond at half-time at Selhurst Park for only his second appearance at second-string level.
Aarons had impressed at the Milk Cup in Northern Ireland last summer, where the Magpies reached the final, but his progress had been disrupted by injury in the first part of the campaign.
However his late goal earned Newcastle a 2-2 draw against the Eagles - Adam Campbell scored the other - and Donachie was impressed with the finish from a young player who looks up to Hatem Ben Arfa and Cristiano Ronaldo.
"He took it well," the Reserve Team Manager told nufc.co.uk. "He made a good turn on the edge of the box and scored with his weaker foot.
"It was a good goalscorer's goal, through the defender's legs and right into the corner.
"It was really good for him and it was a great experience for the likes of him, Greg Olley who came on as a sub, and Jonathyn Quinn. They all played well.
"It should give them confidence when they go back to play for the Academy team. That's how it works. They've gone up a level so when they play for the under-18s that should make it easier.
"That's why we try to give them as much experience with the under-21s as possible."
Another young player who was given an opportunity in South London was goalkeeper Jonathan Mitchell, who was handed his first start of the campaign.
Tim Krul's injury meant Jak Alnwick was on the bench for the first-team on Sunday, while Hartlepool-born Mitchell - who has been on loan with Blue Square Bet North side Workington in recent weeks - warmed up on the St. James' Park pitch before the game.
And Donachie said: "Jonny was great. He's still an inexperienced goalkeeper but his kicking was superb and he threw the ball about 70 yards at one stage.
"As the game went on, you could just tell he was growing in confidence and he was brave. He has a lot of good qualities."