Newcastle United coach Eddie Howe has predicted that Lewis Miley, Newcastle’s United’s 17-year-old midfield prodigy, will break into the club’s first-team this season after his composed performance against Chelsea in Atlanta.
Miley, who was born in Stanley, Co Durham, made his senior debut for Newcastle in their final match of last season, becoming their youngest-ever player in the Premier League era and he has featured in every preseason fixture so far.
A tall, graceful and accomplished player, Miley did not look out of place alongside Sandro Tonali, the Italy international, in Newcastle’s 1-1 draw with Mauricio Pochettino’s team at the Mercedes Benz Stadium.
Howe will reject loan offers from other clubs for Miley and will instead keep him within Newcastle’s first-team pool.
“The plan has been consistent in my mind,” the coach said. “He will stay with us this season. There’s no thought of sending him on loan. For me he’s too young to be exposed to that at the moment. I think he needs to stay with his family and to train with us and to learn and develop around the players we have.
“I don’t think he’s surprised me because I’ve seen it for six months, including at the back end of last season, just how well he was developing and how strong he looked in the group. Physically is always the biggest test for someone so young but you’ve seen him today — he’s a very, very good athlete, he’s strong and a good size and he looks like he can handle the environment he’s in. The next step is to push him and develop him and I’m sure he’ll get minutes this year.”
Just as they do with Elliot Anderson, another product of the club’s academy, Newcastle understand they have a player on their hands. “We have felt that way for a while with Lewis,” Howe said.
“The difficult decision we’ve had is that he’s so young and you want to protect him and not expose him too soon, which can have a negative effect. But he’s looked ready to be around us and be involved and train with us and he has for some time now. That was a very mature performance tonight against high-class opposition and will do him the world of good. He’s shown he can play in front of a crowd, which is not always a given. I’m delighted for him.”
Howe admitted he had not coached “many” better players at Miley’s age. “The biggest challenge for Lewi will be to handle the attention and exposure. It’s dealing with that and then waiting for his opportunity while keeping his head. He’ll have a lot of people in his ear. All those things contribute to how you handle success and when it comes early that can be difficult. We’ll try and guide him and educate him as best we can.”
(Photo: Serena Taylor / Newcastle United via Getty Images)