Newcastle’s Smith welcomes reality check at Blackpool

Blackpool's new signing Liam Smith
Blackpool's new signing Liam Smith
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Liam Smith hopes to see the ‘real world’ of football during his loan spell at Blackpool.

The 20-year-old midfielder, who joined Pool last week for the rest of the season, is yet to play a senior game despite being at Newcastle since the age of six.

Smith has played much of his adult football in the Premier League’s under-21 competition, which the Geordie isn’t convinced is of great benefit.

He said: “Under-21s football is all well and good, but if you want to progress in your career you need to push on.

“It’s important to come out, play senior football and experience the real world.

“I think Under-21s football can sometimes be fake in a sense.

“It’s not how you’d really play in the Premier League, the Championship or League One.”

Smith was an unused substitute at Millwall last Saturday but could make his debut off the bench against Coventry this weekend.

He revealed that Pool manager Neil McDonald had watched him play for the Magpies’ youth team before making his move.

Smith explained: “The manager came to watch me playing for Newcastle in December and said he liked what he saw. Unfortunately I got injured.

“I didn’t find out about the interest until I was fit again and the manager at Newcastle told me.

“I needed a change of scenery. I’ve been there since I was six and that’s all I’ve known.

“Not everywhere in football is going to be like Newcastle, so it was important I experience things which aren’t the Premier League.”

McDonald described Smith as a “ball-playing midfield player, very comfortable on the ball with a good passing range,” and the player says he can operate in a number of positions.

“I play central midfield but I can also play further up the field and deeper too,” he said.

“Hopefully I can get some game-time now at Bloomfield Road.”