At the age of just 16, Newcastle United striker Alex Gilliead is being tipped as the next big talent in English football, but can the England under 16 Striker become Newcastle’s next home grown number nine and follow in the footsteps of former strikers Andy Carroll or Alan Shearer?
Having turned 16 in February, the last two months have seen the striker excel from an academy star to earning an England under 16 cap last month against Wales, a game England won 4-0. Gilliead has also been drafted into the 18 man squad for this month’s Montaigu Tournament in France. Gilliead will look to make an impression throughout the competition as England face Morocco and Japan.
In terms of his Newcastle career, the Consett born star has had a whirlwind last few weeks which has seen him make his reserve team debut in a 4-1 defeat against West Bromwich Albion. Gilliead has been a main feature in the clubs under 18 side since making his debut on the 3rd March against Wolves. Dave Watson’s Under 18 team currently lead the way in their division, and Gilliead grabbed his first Under 18 goal in a 3-1 victory over Stoke City, just days after collecting the Jack Hixon trophy at this year’s Newcastle awards.
The Hixon trophy is dedicated to Jack Hixon, the scout who unearthed another certain number nine on Tyneside-Alan Shearer. Although it is still very early on in his development, it is clear that Gilliead is held in the highest regard at St James Park and a bright future is predicted for him as he looks to become the next Newcastle number nine hero.
Gilliead was an unused sub for the under 16’s on Tuesday evening as they drew their opening fixture against Japan 1-1, however the striker will be looking to gain some match time as England meet Morocco this evening (Thursday).
It is still early days in Gilliead’s career however if the youngster keeps the same hunger and desire to succeed that he has shown since the turn of 2012 then there should be no reason why he can’t follow in the footsteps of Carroll or indeed the great Shearer.