'I want to help Colchester get promoted' - Newcastle loanee Roberts
PUBLISHED: 06:00 01 February 2019
2017 Colchester United Football Club
Callum Roberts is ready to hit the ground running, at his new club Colchester United, following his loan switch from Newcastle United on transfer deadline day yesterday.
Roberts is an exciting addition to the U’s squad, as John McGreal’s men prepare to launch a bid for promotion during the last third of this season.
The U’s have dropped out of the play-off zone – they had been in the top seven for virtually the whole of the campaign – following recent back-to-back defeats to Mansfield (3-2 at home) and Crewe Alexandra (2-1 away).
But Roberts’ arrival should give the U’s a shot in the arm, especially as the winger-cum-attacker celebrated his first-ever senior goal for Newcastle only a couple of weeks ago, in the 4-2 win over Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup.
Attack-minded Roberts became the third U’s new signing of the week, putting pen to paper on a loan deal from Newcastle United until the end of the season, before training yesterday.
The 21-year-old joins up with fellow new recruits midfielder Ben Stevenson (permanent move from Wolves) and winger Abo Eisa (on loan from Shrewsbury Town).
“I came down on Tuesday, and it’s all happened very quickly,” explained Roberts.
“They were a few bodies short at Newcastle so I had been involved there, but they’ve got players now so I’ve been able to leave on loan.
“I’m not surprised to be coming to Colchester. I would be happy to be anywhere to play football, and that’s what I have come here to do.
“I want to try and help Colchester United get promoted, by staying in the team.
“I’ve been in and around the Newcastle first team this season. I had a chance in the FA Cup, and got a goal, and I’ve been on the bench in the Premier League a few times, so I’m just waiting for that Premier League debut now.
“My target is to get into the team, stay in the team, work hard for the team, and score goals for the team.
“I want to help the club to get back into the play-offs, and help them get promoted.
“I can play in the role behind the striker, on the left wing or the right wing.
“I would probably say that my strengths are dribbling with the ball, trying to score goals and assist goals,” added Roberts.
A Geordie through-and-through, Roberts, who was born in South Shields, has been associated with Newcastle United since the age of eight.
He scored eight goals in nine games for Newcastle’s under-18 team, while still at school in 2012-13, and later in 2013 he joined the Magpies’ Academy.
A senior debut arrived on January 3, 2015, when he appeared as a substitute against Leicester City in the FA Cup, and he signed his first professional contract later that month.
This will be Roberts’ third loan spell away from St. James’ Park.
The England Under-21 international previously spent time on loan at National League side Gateshead (three appearances in early 2015) as a raw teenager, and also at Scottish Premiership side Kilmarnock, for whom he made 11 appearances during the 2016-17 season.
This term, he was part of Rafa Benítez’s squad during pre-season before celebrating his first goal for the club at Ewood Park. Roberts has also been named on the bench for Newcastle’s last two Premier League fixtures.
“I went to Scotland a few years ago, when I was very young, only 18 or 19,” continued Roberts.
“That was a good experience for me. I think that I learnt a lot from that, and I hope to again at Colchester.
“But Newcastle has been one and only club, I’ve always been there, having chosen Newcastle over Sunderland early on. I’ve always lived there.
“But I’ve been very impressed with the set-up down here. I haven’t been to the stadium yet, but the training ground is good, as is the indoors (dome).
“I can’t really fault it really and I see this as a good opportunity for me, to play for a team sitting eighth in the league.
“So the aim over the next couple of games will be to get back into the play-off zone.”
Roberts should make his U’s debut away at Northampton Town tomorrow.
In addition to signing the trio of Stevenson, Eisa and Roberts, the U’s also received a boost with none of their established players being snapped up by ‘bigger’ clubs before the transfer window closed.
Leading scorer Sammie Szmodics had been linked with a move elsewhere, with Championship clubs and ambitious League One outfits in the running.
But McGreal’s squad has remained in tact, and is now strengthened for the run-in.