With the season fast approaching, the thoughts going through most City supporters’ minds is no doubt ‘where are the goals going to come from?’ – and justifiably so. The Sky Blues have only managed to find the net twice in a drab pre-season that has dissapointed so far. However, with the first competitive fixture against Wigan looming, Mowbray has brought in his first striker of the summer.
The signing came in the form of Adam Armstrong, the 18 year old joining on a six-month loan deal from Newcastle United. What can we expect from the Geordie? You may look at his age and immediately be put off, but the amount of experience he has is honourable and he boasts a very impressive scoring record.
Admittedly I didn’t know too much about the youngster prior to him signing for the club, but you’ve only got to look at the Newcastle fan’s opinions to realise he could be a real coup. Being labelled as the ‘most natural finisher since Alan Shearer’ by one member of the Toon Army can only fill the Coventry supporters with hope – if he performs anywhere near to the level of the all-time Premier League top scorer then we’ll be more than happy.
His career so far…
Armstrong is a lifelong Newcastle United supporter and he joined the club’s academy at the age of nine. Since then, he hasn’t looked back as he’s progressed through the youth setup and he was a regular fixture in the development side last term. After scoring five goals in his first five appearances for the U21’s he was soon earmarked as a potential ‘gem’ and he began to force his way in to the first team picture.
On the 15th March 2014 the striker became the second youngest player to play for Newcastle in the Premier League as he was introduced as a late substitute in a defeat to Fulham. It took him a further six months to receive his first start for the club which came about versus Crystal Palace in September 2014. Following an impressive performance in that fixture he has notched up 15 Premier League appearances including a start against Manchester United on Boxing Day 2014.
As well as having experience in the top flight, the youngster also boasts the honour of playing for his country at youth level. After debuting for the U16’s in a 5-0 win over Northern Ireland in September 2012, Armstrong went on to score 2 goals in 6 appearances for the age group.
His progression then saw him move up to the U17’s and this is where he really began to impress. Scoring in his first game for the U17’s in a 1-0 win over Turkey allowed him to catch the eye again and he was subsequently named in the squad for the European Under 17’s Championship qualifying stage. He scored numerous goals as the team qualified and he was then selected in the side for the tournament. England then managed to progress to the final of the competition but Armstrong was ruled out with injury, he did however score 2 goals previously to help his side reach that stage.
When moving up to the U18’s national team, he took his opportunity to immediately impress again as he scored a brace on his debut in a friendly against the Netherlands. He progressed from there and he averages a goal a game with the side as his goal scoring exploits leave him with 9 goals in 9 caps.
My thoughts on the signing…
With current City coach, Jamie Clapham touting the forward as a future Premier League ‘gem’ I can see no reason to argue with that. You’ve only got to look at the statistics to find out that we’ve got a potent finisher on our hands, and he could have a similar impact in League One to what Patrick Bamford managed in the Championship with Middlesbrough.
A lack of goals in pre-season has worried many of the City faithful, but Armstrong’s pace and quality should provide us with a bit more going forward. Standing at only 5ft 8, he perhaps isn’t the physical forward we are lacking, but he can provide a runner in behind to assist James Maddison and co, hopefully finishing some of their assists.
It’s clear that we still need a couple more frontmen to have a real chance of a competent season, but this addition is a very exciting one. If we manage to get a ‘big man’ in beside him that could add even more flavour, but he now provides us with a natural instinct that has been desperately lacking.
We’ll see how he performs against Oxford on Saturday in our final pre-season friendly…but he looks like an astute acquisition. The only downsides to the deal are the fact that it’s a sixth-month loan, not a season-long one – I’m hoping that can be extended come January – and the fact there is a 24-hour recall clause due to it being a youth loan.
“We’ve been looking to add quality to our forward line and despite his young age, I believe Adam will give us a fantastic option. It is an important stage of his development and he needs first-team games to progress as a player so this is a big chance for him in his career.
“He’s only 18 years old he’s got the body of a man – he’s got mobility, he’s got power and he scores goals with both feet.
Adam Armstrong’s pleased to have signed…
“I’m delighted to get it done as it is massive in my career. It’s a big move and I can’t wait to get started.
“I want to progress during my time here and do really well for the club. I like to think I’m quick and got a few skills about me.
“I’ve got an eye for goals and I want to score a lot of goals for the club. I’ve got to claim my place in the side first but that’s the aim.
“I’m really looking forward to the start of the season against Wigan Athletic and can’t wait to get started.”