He’s been with the Club for almost three months, but new Manager, Arthur Papas has already made an impact.
Since his arrival, Papas has been tasked with reassembling an A-League squad that can challenge for trophies and it’s included a host of new names who are in the process of gelling together in preparation for Round One. And there’s still one more to come.
This week, he chatted with Newcastle Live Radio about a variety of topics including the challenge of bringing together a new group of players, his vision for bringing through local young players into the A-League squad, and of course, the transfer rumours surrounding Jack Wilshere.
A TEAM OF FRESH FACES
Over ten new A-League signings have made their way to the Club this off-season, and there’s plenty of excitement around fans and pundits about what each will bring, combined with the existing squad.
While it can be a hard task getting so many fresh faces to gel quickly, Papas believes it’s a blessing for the squad.
“They’ve all got different backgrounds,” Papas told Newcastle Live Radio. “It’s quite interesting.
“There’s so much to learn from other cultures. I think we have a beautiful culture in this country, but everyone brings their own unique ways of doing things.
“We have a lot of young players, and I think it’s a great experience for them to learn off players who have been elsewhere and grown up differently.”
NEW INTERNATIONAL SIGNING ON THE HORIZON
Naturally given the recent rumours, Papas was also asked about whether English international, Jack Wilshere will be appearing in a Jets jersey in 2021/22.
Papas said; “There’s been a lot of talk about it. There was some contact about a month ago.
“He’s a fantastic player so you obviously listen to anything that comes across of that nature.
“But it’s not the direction we’re going in, to be honest.”
While Wilshere won’t be coming to the Club this season, our Manager did make mention of another international midfielder, and was keen to see him join the rest of the squad.
“We’ve got another player that will come in - a foreign midfielder - and I’m excited about that player,” Papas said.
“Any player who walks through our door I’m excited about, because I’ve had a big say in why they’re coming here. We’ve assembled a really, interesting, exciting squad, and it’s a pleasure working with them.”
FOCUS ON DEVELOPING OUR LOCAL YOUNG PLAYERS
While there are many members of our current squad that have arrived from different cities, states and countries, Papas still has his eye on our young, local products.
Although COVID has disrupted the seasons of our youth and academy players, many are still working hard training with the top squad as the Manager develops the team, and the younger players coming through are a priority for the Club moving forward.
When asked about his priorities for the Club, Papas said; “Fundamentally, in the early stages, I’m going to be judged by how the first team is developed…[But] Ultimately the goal is not to make these kinds of changes in the future.
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“I think Newcastle is rich in talent…We have been able to find a few of the boys in the Youth team, and we’ve brought them into the first team squad training immediately, and they’ll train with us consistently now to give them that opportunity to keep developing.
“Hopefully in 12 months, we don’t need to be making 11 new signings – that’s the key. We want to be bringing through our own players.”