The latest rising star of English football is Rolando Aarons as the Jamaican-born winger continues to impress for Newcastle United. The player made his first competitive debut over the weekend and scored in the 3-3 draw with Crystal Palace. But it would be a cardinal sin for manager Alan Pardew to rush him and start playing him week in, week out.
There is doubt behind his talent. The attacking midfielder impressed in pre-eason during the tour of New Zealand and he scored a wonder goal-cross against Schalke in their own tournament at the Veltins-Arena in a preseason friendly. This run of form saw Pardew call him up for the match against Crystal Palace where he entered as a substitute, and went on to score one and set one up for teammate Mike Williamson via the post.
Following the draw against Aston Villa a week earlier, Pardew had this to say about the youngster:
“I am going to use him this year because I really like him. We think he’s got great, great talent. But this was our first away game. And it was a tough call on the bench … I decided to keep Rolando off. But he will be on, in and around the team, for sure all season.”
The Newcastle fans seem to love him as well as some call him a wonder kid and the next Raheem Sterling. He may not be of that level in terms of goal scoring, but he has played very well and taken his chances at St. James Park.
But he cannot be rushed. There are many tales of players who were brought into their teams starting lineup and played constantly and this damaged their future. Think back to Michael Owen, before being a terrible commentator, he was a world-class striker. But he was put into the starting 11 of Liverpool as an 18-year-old and wasn’t taken out until he moved to Real Madrid.
The latter parts of his career were damaged through countless injuries — especially, it seems, at Newcastle United — and he ended up drying out as a player by the age of 25. I have no doubt that this is because he was rushed into football too quickly. He peaked early, and when he was supposed to have the best years of his life, he was on the bench or the physio’s table.
I would hate for the same thing to happen to Rolando Aarons. He will be a star, that is plain for all to see, but his development will be better served if he sits of the bench, learns from the experienced players and takes his time.
Please don’t rush the kid. He may be the best prospect Newcastle has had for decades.