Young Magpies Set For Hong Kong
Written by Newcastle Utd
United have flown to the Far East to compete in the Hong Kong Football Club Citibank Soccer Sevens
By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Managing Editor
Peter Beardsley believes Newcastle United's participation in this weekend's Hong Kong Football Club Citibank Soccer Sevens tournament will aid the development of his young stars.
On Tuesday, a squad of ten players from the Magpies' under-21 side flew to the Far East, before participating in the competition, which kicks-off on Friday.
United won the cup on their tournament debut in 2012, lost to Leicester City in the 2013 final and suffered an agonising semi-final exit last year after giving up a two-goal lead against Kitchee.
This year they have been drawn in Group A alongside Leicester and two local sides - BC Rangers and Singapore Cricket Club.
Five of the Newcastle squad played in the 2014 tournament, and Beardsley said: "We are all really looking forward to it.
"It's a great tournament. I can't speak highly enough of the way the whole week is organised and cannot wait to get out there again.
"The players love it. They really embrace everything about it, enjoy the experience and it does them a lot of good.
"The lads who have played before know what to expect, they loved what they experienced last year and will tell the others how good it was.
"Playing sevens football is quite different to normal 11-a-side. You have to be able to get up and down the pitch and have a good understanding of the game.
"Last year we were naÃ¯ve in a couple of the things we did but it's all a learning experience and the players will be much better off for having gone through that."
And who is Beardsley tipping to follow in the footsteps of Rolando Aarons and make a big impact in Hong Kong this summer?
"Tom Heardman will probably be our main striker and could be a very important player for us," he explained.
"With all due respect to him, he's probably not an out-and-out goalscorer but he does a great job for the team and will bring others into play.
"Callum Roberts could also be an exciting talent this year. He has pace, trickery and can score great goals. He's got unbelievable ability and has already had a taste of the first team this season."
Goalkeeper Paul Woolston has been ruled out by a neck injury sustained on international duty, so Academy goalkeeping coach Adam Bartlett will play in between the sticks for the Magpies instead.
Newcastle United squad and staff for the Hong Kong Football Club Citibank Soccer Sevens tournament: Back row (l-r): Liam Smith, Alex Gilliead, Tom Heardman, Dan Barlaser, Callum Williams; Front row (l-r): Peter Beardsley, Carl Nelson, Billy Coulston, Macaulay Gillesphey, Adam Laidler, Jamie Sterry, Callum Roberts, Ben Dawson, Simon Tweddle, Greg McDermott
Not pictured: Adam Bartlett, Jack Hunter