Newcastle United’s academy system has produced some talented players over the past decade or so, but not all reached their full potential.
Players like Andy Carroll, Steven Taylor, Paul Dummett, Sean Longstaff, Matthew Longstaff, Fraser Forster, Shola Ameobi, Aaron Hughes, James Tavernier and others have gone on to become recognised names in the the world of football, either at St. James Park or elsewhere.
But for every James Tavernier, there is inevitably a player like Tamas Kadar or Mehdi Abeid, youngsters who clearly had ability and promised much but ultimately, didn’t reach their potential, due to a wide range of different factors.
We’ve taken a look back at some of the most promising youngsters that were once at Newcastle United, to see where they are today.
All players in this article were once classed as a ‘Wonderkid’ from previous Football Manager gaming titles, with players from FM11, FM12 and FM13 featured in this article. Not all of these players came through the Magpies academy, some where brought in at a young age, but they were still classed as Wonderkids on the games.
So, where are they know? Let’s take a walk down memory lane.
Classed as a wonderkid on FM11, Kadar joined United from Hungarian outfit Zalaegerszegi in January 2008 aged 16.
A promising central defender, Kadar suffered a major setback early on in his career at St. James Park, breaking his leg in 2009.
He would go on to play just 18 times for United in all competitions, before being released in 2012.
Now, 30-years-old, Kadar has since gone on to earn 57 caps for Hungary, playing for teams like Lech Poznan, Dynamo Kyiv and most recently, Chinese side Shandong Luneng.
Gosling, who was also a FM11 wonderkid, will be a familar name for English football fans.
The midfielder started his career at Plymouth, before moving to Everton and then Newcastle, aged 19.
The now Watford midfielder was clearly a promising talent, but in March 2010, just before signing for United, he had suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament injury, and had to go under the knife again just seven months into his career at St. James Park.
Gosling would go on to make just 24 Premier League appearances for the club in four years, before being sold to Bournemouth, where he made 168 league appearances.
Gosling left Bournemouth on January 31, 2021, signing for Watford.
Vuckic was once considered one of the most promising midfielders in European football, with Newcastle United signing the then 16-year-old Slovenian from Domžale in January 2009, a major coup at the time.
However despite his clear and obvious talent, Vuckic’s career never really took off at Newcastle. He suffered niggling injuries and unimpressive loan spells, making only seven Premier League appearances for the Magpies in an eight-year spell.
Vuckic signed for Eridivisie side FC Twente on a free transfer in 2017, before joining Spanish outfit Zaragoza in August 2020, still aged just 28.
Despite Santon’s horrible injury record at Inter, where he suffered various knee issues, the full-back was still considered a terrific talent and the Mapgies spent around £4 million on the Italian in August 2011.
Santon had a decent career at United, making 82 Premier League appearances in four seasons, before being sold back to Inter in 2015.
The now 30-year-old defender is currently at Serie A side AS Roma, having joined them in 2018.
At French side RC Lens in his early career, Abeid eventually joined United in May 2011, with the youngster classed as a real talent.
But Abeid was sent on loan to teams like St Johnstone and Panathinaikos, making his long-awaited Premier League debut for Newcastle in November 2014, three years after joining the club.
But just under a year later, Abeid was sold to Panathinaikos for an undisclosed fee and has since gone on to play for Dijon, Nantes and currently, UAE side Al-Nasr, still just 28.
Campbell was a genuine Newcastle United wonderkid. Born in North Shields, there was real excitement about the forward’s potential.
But after a few loan spells at clubs like Carlisle United, St Mirren, Fleetwood Town, Hartlepool United and Gateshead, Campbell eventually joined Notts County in 2015.
The forward went on to play for Morecambe and most recently, Darlington, where he’s scored 19 goals in 43 league games in the National League North.
Alnwick was one of the very best young goalkeepers on FM13, with incredible potential, but he never quite reached the levels that the game predicted.
He would go on to make just six league appearances for United before joining Port Vale in 2015, Rangers in 2016 and most recently, St Mirren, still aged only 27.
After making a name for himself at French side Nancy, United splashed out around £2 million on Haidara in January 2013.
But just two months after signing, Haidara was on the end of a horrendous challenge from then-Wigan Athetic winger Callum McManaman, restricting him to only four Premier League appearances in his first season at the club.
Despite his clear promise, Haidara was never really classed as first-choice, with the defender making 11 league appearances in 2013/14, 15 league appearances in 2014/15, seven league appearances in 2015/16, one league appearances in 2016/17 (Championship) and one final Premier League appearance in 2017/18.
The full-back signed for RC lens in 2018 and is now getting the first-team football that his talent deserves, with the now 28-year-old an important part of the Lens side currently sitting sixth in Ligue 1.
Last but definitely not least, Sammy Ameobi may have possessed the most natural talent of any player on this list.
Despite being a mercurial wide player with impressive technical and dribbling skills, Ameobi made just 57 league appearances in a seven year spell at Newcastle, being sent out on numerous loan spells, before eventually joining Bolton Wanderers in 2017.
Ameobi is currently at Championship side Nottingham Forrest, aged 28, and is a key part of their side, making 26 league appearances so far this season.
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