By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Willie Donachie held up hat-trick hero Gabriel Obertan as an example to his younger players after the French winger's contribution to Newcastle's 4-0 Barclays Under-21 Premier League win over Crystal Palace.
The former Manchester United man opened the scoring after just three minutes before adding two more goals in the second half to issue a timely reminder of his pace and ability ahead of the season run-in.
He played 90 minutes, just as he did in last week's second-string success at Manchester City, on a night when Jamaican teenager Rolando Aarons was also on the scoresheet to make in nine games unbeaten at this level for United.
But it was Obertan who rightly grabbed the headlines at St. James' Park and Donachie was full of praise for his captain for the evening when he spoke to nufc.co.uk after the match.
He said: "We said to the younger players after the game, what he did was really worked hard and played it simple - and that's a great player.
"They all want to complicate things but he just played two touch and ran off the ball, and he looked a really class player.
"Everybody at the Club knows he's a very talented player and a superb athlete and he shouldn't even be with us (the under-21s) really.
"But that's where he is and to show the attitude he has is superb and shows he's a great professional as well."
Amalfitano has been in fine form for Donachie's side in recent weeks while Bigirimana and Tavernier have more often than not been involved at senior level this term.
Donachie said: "Romain's attitude was superb as well and Bigi, Tav - they were all good. We had seven or eight Academy age players and the way you learn is by playing with and watching good players. That's how they'll get better."
One player who has clearly been taking note of his more experienced colleagues is 17-year-old Aarons, who netted his second under-21 goal for the Magpies with a fine curling strike.
"He's another one with talent - he's just got to keep working hard," Donachie said.
"And the example set by the older players is brilliant for him."