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Newly promoted Bolton Wanderers have swooped to sign Newcastle youngster Adam Armstrong on loan until mid-January and it may just prove to be a canny signing.
The 20-year-old has had loan spells with Coventry City and Barnsley in the past and has obvious potential. 7 goals in 13 games for the England under-20 side is an excellent record and he is now a World Cup winner at that level.
For whatever reason, it seems clear that Rafael Benitez does not fancy Armstrong at all, despite Newcastle’s apparent need for striking reinforcements. Barely a couple of weeks of pre-season training had been completed when Armstrong was omitted from the squad which travelled to Dublin this week to train, and was offered to Bolton instead.
If Benitez had any intention of giving Armstrong a chance, he would have trained in Ireland with the first team squad and would have been given at least one friendly before being shipped out. But this has not proven to be the case.
For all that though, Armstrong has definite quality and especially outside of the Premier League. Time will tell whether the Geordie striker will make it at the top level, but perhaps Benitez’s decision is based solely on his performance at Barnsley last season while on loan there.
Despite a decent start and high hopes, just 6 goals in 34 league games was Arma’s return and those figures simply don’t look good enough for a forward, even at this stage. Go back to his time at Coventry in League One though and it’s a different story.
In the 2015/16 season, he netted 20 times in 40 games, with most of them coming in a prolific spell during the first half of the season when Coventry were rampant. His slower second half to the campaign coincided with the team going backwards at an alarming rate and this is something Bolton fans can be a little worried about.
Should their team struggle; Armstrong will struggle. He thrives on good passes, opportunistic play and his team mates going well around him. So is not the ‘Ronaldo type’, i.e someone who will change the game for you on his own.
If Wanderers do well however, expect Armstrong to bag a hatful of goals, as he has done for his country and at the younger age levels at Newcastle United.
Wayne Rooney was told a story of how, when Manchester United played Newcastle at Old Trafford, Louis van Gaal had prepared some sort of check on Armstrong, knowing he could be Newcastle’s unknown quantity and hidden gem. This alone tells you what sort of regard he has been held in.