By Tom Easterby
With a trio of promising youngsters signing professional contracts at St. James' Park this week, Newcastle United's future looks to be in safe hands.
Teenagers Lubo Satka, Freddie Woodman and Adam Armstrong all put pen to paper on their first deals with the Club, with the latter making his Barclays Premier League bow at Fulham a fortnight ago.
The Academy, which is overseen by Academy manager Joe Joyce, was also awarded Category One status - the highest possible level in the Premier League's Elite Player Performance Plan - and first team manager Alan Pardew believes it won't be long before his side begin to reap the benefits of having an ever-improving youth system.
"I've been at two clubs who are renowned for their talent coming through - West Ham, when I was there, and Southampton, who are obviously getting a lot of attention at the moment with a lot of good players coming through," he explained.
"But we are now, in my third year here, the best we've been in the Academy.
"We've been rated Category One status here, we've signed four or five of our team from the youth team, who have done very well in the Youth Cup, and we do feel that we're as strong as we've been, certainly in my time.
"Hopefully we can take that on now and start building a better foundation below."
Another positive to come out of a good week for the Academy was the emergence of 15-year-old goalkeeper Paul Woolston, who kept a clean sheet on his second-string debut against Manchester United on Wednesday night.
The schoolboy's starring role in the 1-0 win highlights the strides being made by Peter Beardsley's rookie prospects.
"We had Freddie Woodman away with England, so he (Woolston) got his chance, and he was superb. We all enjoyed watching him," said Pardew.