EDDIE HOWE insists Joe White earned his Premier League debut in Newcastle United’s weekend draw with Bournemouth – and is prepared to start using the 21-year-old on a more regular basis in the remaining three months of the season.

White made his Premier League bow as he came off the bench to replace Lewis Miley in the 89th minute of the Magpies’ 2-2 draw at St James’ Park. It was a landmark moment for the Carlisle-born midfielder, who joined Newcastle from his hometown club in 2016.

Having previously had loan spells at Hartlepool United and Exeter City, White spent the first half of the current campaign with League Two side Crewe Alexandra. Crewe boss Lee Bell wanted to keep him at Gresty Road for the remainder of the season, but with his midfield options having been decimated through injury, Howe opted to recall the youngster to Tyneside.

He had been an unused substitute for matches against Aston Villa and Luton Town, but was finally handed a maiden top-flight appearance at the weekend, with Howe envisaging using him on a more regular basis between now and the end of the campaign.

“Talking individually about Joe, he’s come back from a loan spell and really matured,” said Howe, who remains without Joe Willock, Joelinton, Elliot Anderson and the suspended Sandro Tonali in the midfield area. “That loan spell did him the world of good, and he's trained really well.

“I’m very, very pleased with him. He’s been almost like a new signing for us and of course by training well, you earn my trust. I thought it was a good moment to put him on the pitch for his Premier League debut. I thought he did really well, so I’m delighted with him.”

The Northern Echo: Joe White was on loan at Crewe Alexandra in the first half of the seasonJoe White was on loan at Crewe Alexandra in the first half of the season (Image: PA)

White replaced Miley at the weekend, with his fellow youngster having found himself playing in a more defensive role in the last couple of matches.

For most of the season, Bruno Guimaraes has been the deepest-lying of Newcastle’s three midfielders, with Miley and Sean Longstaff tending to play slightly ahead of the Brazilian.

Guimaraes was pushed further up the pitch in the 3-2 win at Nottingham Forest, and responded with two goals at the City Ground, with his more advanced role being facilitated by the repositioning of Miley to just in front of the back four.

While there was a degree of positional rotation during last weekend’s draw with Bournemouth, Miley once again spent most of his time playing as the defensive-midfield shield, with Howe having been impressed by the 17-year-old’s ability to deal with the additional responsibilities of his new position.


“He (Miley) was very good, for someone so young,” said Howe. “It’s a very difficult position to play because there’s so much responsibility on your shoulders, both with and without the ball.

“I thought he did really well. He was another player who changed positions, but the beauty of Lewy is you can change his role and move him to different areas, and he just gets on with it.

“He’s unflustered. We were chopping and changing all over the place to try and find a way back into the match, and ultimately, it helped us in the end.”

Matt Ritchie’s stoppage-time strike salvaged a point for Newcastle, and means they had to the Emirates to take on Arsenal at the weekend sitting in eighth position in the table, a point behind seventh-placed Brighton.

Howe is waiting to learn whether Fabian Schar will be available for Saturday night’s game, with the Swiss centre-half understood to be undergoing tests on the arm injury he suffered in the closing stages of last weekend’s draw.

Schar left the field in considerable pain, using the bottom of his shirt as a makeshift sling to protect his right arm, and it remains to be seen whether he is able to resume full training in order to make himself available to face Arsenal.

Meanwhile, Newcastle’s second-string game against Leeds United in Premier League 2 that was due to take place next Monday has been postponed. The home game will now be staged at Whitley Park on Saturday, April 20 (2pm).