Lubo Satka, Adam Armstrong and Freddie Woodman with Alan Pardew and Joe Joyce


By Dan King - Newcastle United Digital Editor

Three of the Club's promising youngsters - Adam Armstrong, Freddie Woodman and Lubo Satka - have signed their first professional contracts.

Forward Armstrong, 17, made his Barclays Premier League debut at Fulham the weekend before last while Slovakian defender Satka, 18, was a non-playing member of the squad.

Goalkeeper Woodman, 17, has played for England at under-16 and under-17 level.

The Club can also announce that its Academy has been awarded Category One status - the highest ranking under the Premier League's Elite Players Performance Plan (EPPP).

The EPPP saw Premier League and Football League academies independently assessed and placed into one of four categories, with Category One being the highest.

The Magpies' Academy has passed a rigorous auditing process recognising the high standard of coaching, facilities and personnel at Little Benton.

Gaining Category One status is another example of owner Mike Ashley's commitment to the future of the Club, while principal sponsors Wonga.com have invested £1.5m in the Academy.

Manager Alan Pardew said: "Being a Category One Academy is extremely important in terms of looking to the future and giving young talented players the best possible chance of succeeding at Newcastle United.

"I know our supporters love to see young players like Sammy Ameobi and Paul Dummett come through, and that's why I'm pleased to see Adam, Freddie and Lubo sign their first professional contracts.

"This is only a first step on the career ladder for these boys and they must continue to show the same commitment and desire and will to learn as they have to this point."

Academy Manager Joe Joyce said: "Achieving Category One status was recognition of all the hard work and effort put in by all Academy staff in order first of all to achieve that status, but also it's recognition of the Club's commitment to youth development generally.

"The Category One status allows us to have more contact time with the players, so the training schedule during the week can increase and the staff can work a lot longer with the boys."

Armstrong, who hails from Chapel House, added: "The hard work starts now. I'm buzzing to sign this deal and hopefully it goes well. The manager's shown an interest in the young players which is really good."

Satka added: "I'm really happy. I've enjoyed my two years at the club and it's good that I can keep going and stay here. My parents came over from Slovakia to see me sign my contract which made me very happy. I don't get to see them too much so I hope that they're proud."

And Woodman said: "It feels amazing to sign with a club as big as Newcastle. It's a dream come true. At this Club, you can see that young players are getting a chance."

Watch out for interviews with Adam Armstrong, Freddie Woodman, Lubo Satka and Academy Manager Joe Joyce on nufcTV from 9.30am