Gateshead have signed young Newcastle United striker Lewis McNall on loan until the end of the season.
The 18-year-old forward hails from Emmanuel College in Gateshead and has been a regular goalscorer for The Magpies’ Under-18 and Under-23 set-ups since he made his Under-18 debut in a 6-0 victory over Arsenal back in April 2015. With an impressive 28 goals in 36 starts at Newcastle youth level, the 5ft 11in frontman certainly knows where the net is as he looks to carry that form into senior football with the Heed.
He recently netted a 13-minute hat-trick for United’s Under-23s side in the Northumberland Senior Cup and previously caught the eye by scoring a 16-minute headed hat-trick against a Manchester United Under-18s side featuring Marcus Rashford in September 2015. So far this season, McNall has netted five times in three starts for Newcastle’s Under-23s and has made an additional five appearances off the bench.
He is also the son of former Gateshead goalscoring great Keith McNall, who represented the Heed from the mid-80s to early-90s. McNall is the latest in a line of Gateshead loan moves between their Tyneside neighbours – following in the footsteps of players like Paul Dummett, James Tavernier, Adam Campbell, Steve Harper and most recently, Callum Williams. He will wear the number 19 shirt previously worn by recent departure Luke Hannant.
Tynesiders boss Steve Watson believes the teenage striker will help bolster his attacking line during the second half of the season.
“Lewis is a goalscorer and we’ve had spells this season where we’ve lacked a bit of composure in front of goal so hopefully he can bring that to the side because you can never have enough goalscorers in the squad. Stepping up to senior football will be a big ask for him but you never know until you do it, I know I certainly didn’t.
“I was thrown-in to senior football at 16 and I could have sunk or swum, fortunately, I coped okay with it and because of that, I’m a big believer in giving youngsters a chance. You never know who you can unearth by giving young players a chance at senior football and if you know where the goal is and you’re composed in front of it then it doesn’t matter what level you are at.
“Hopefully Lewis will be able to cope well with the league and can make a big impact during his time here and kick-on from there.”