Young Bartlett A Step Closer To EPL
Teenage South African striker, Tyrique Bartlett, took a step closer to realising his English Premier League dream this week as he was asked to train with Newcastle United’s senior team.
The 18-year-old forward joined the English side last year as he embarked on the next step of his career after coming through the youth ranks at the University of Pretoria, and seems to be progressing nicely in the Magpies’ U23 side.
Bartlett, the son of Bafana Bafana legend, Shaun, has already represented South Africa’s U20s, and Stuart Baxter will no doubt be keeping an eye on his progression as he tries to make a name for himself in the United Kingdom.
The Siya crew got in touch with the teenager to discuss his first time training with the senior team, and he says that he feels he’s acclimatising well after nearly nine months in the North of England.
He said, “At first it was really tough, getting used to everything like the culture and the way they train. They way they condition themselves here is really different as well. Right now I’m getting used to being a real professional footballer. Before I was playing football but studying as well, now it’s just football, football. I feel like I’ve adjusted well and I’m hoping to take my opportunity whenever it’s given.”
And has the step up from the U23s to the senior ranks been a big one? “Yeah, in certain ways,” he says.
“The game is very quick and more physical as well, but I feel like I’ve done well. I’m really excited for what the future holds. When the head coach is wanting to see your progress or whether you can be used either now or going forward, that’s when we get to go into the first team.”
Under the watchful eye of Rafa Benitez, Bartlett will be hoping to keep up his progression at Newcastle, and he says that he’s been welcomed into a good environment.
Bartlett explained, “He’s (Benitez) been really good. We haven’t spoken that much, but when we do, it’s all encouragement and advice. Even from the other players… When I came in I expected things to be a little bit hostile, but they were all very welcoming.
“If you do something wrong they’ll get on your back, but as long you work hard then they love it.”
Newcastle U23s face Blackburn Rovers in the English Premier League 2 Division 2 this weekend, and Bartlett will be keen to get another chance to impress as they try and move up the table.