Consistency is key, says Brookwell ahead of Villa visit
Written by Luke Vinton
Niall Brookwell is targeting back-to-back wins with Newcastle United Under-23s ahead of their Premier League 2 visit of Aston Villa on Friday evening (kick-off 7pm GMT).
The young Magpies, currently situated in seventh place of Division Two, ended a run of five competitive games without a win on Monday after an assured 3-1 away victory against ten-men Nottingham Forest, courtesy of Elliot Anderson's impressive hat-trick.
Brookwell, who joined the Magpies' Academy from Liverpool in July 2020, stressed the importance of claiming maximum points against Forest as United's second-string moved within one point of the play-off spots.
The Wigan-born teenager told nufc.co.uk: "We were aware that we hadn't won in a while and I felt it was important we went to Forest and got three points because we didn't want to be slipping down the table and stay up at the top end where we belong instead.
"It was the perfect start even when it was eleven versus eleven for the first ten (minutes). We started really well, going one-nil up and then our play sort of caused the red card as well. Once they went down to ten men, we just carried on playing the same way and controlled the game well.
"There's a couple of big games coming up for us. Back-to-back wins would be very good and put us right up there. I think if we get some good results going into Christmas, we'll be pleased.
"We've shown some really good glimpses this season but I think it's just a case of getting it consistently right. We need to make sure we're not drawing or losing after winning, trying to get a strong run of results together."
Brookwell has started United's last three matches at second-string level, featuring at the heart of Newcastle's backline.
The versatile 19-year-old admitted he has relished playing in defence compared to his primary position of central midfield and is aiming to restrict Villa, who have netted a league-high 32 goals so far this term, in front of goal.
"It's been good and I've enjoyed the change in going from midfield to defence," he added. "I've been trying to take my game as a midfielder to the back.
"I have played as a centre back before though so it's not like it is a different position for me at all.
"It's a chance to try and test yourself against the top scorers in the league and try to stop them. We'll then rely on our more attacking players to get the goals."