Opinion: Trial of Melbourne Heart defender Curtis Good at Newcastle United shows the talent of player and diligence of club

Iain Strachan believes the youngster's chance at the English Premier League club shows both his talent and extent of the Magpies' scouting network

By Iain Strachan

Melbourne Heart defender Curtis Good could find himself in the shop window of European football upon the completion of his trial at Newcastle United.

And by handing a chance to the promising 19-year-old, Newcastle have underlined the extent of their impressive worldwide scouting network.

Good, who will spend 10 days under observation at the club's Darsley Park training ground, has enjoyed a prodigious rise from his amateur days in Victoria's youth leagues.

The central defender played for the Victorian Primary Schools representative side during his time at Knox Junior Soccer Club, and won an Under-15 championship at Nunawading City.

That earned him a scholarship at the Australian Institute of Sport, where he captained the team.

Good spent time training with the Heart during the 2010-11 campaign, before signing officially at the beginning of this season.

While a trial is no guarantee of securing a permanent move to football's bright lights, Newcastle's interest after just one full season in the professional game is a testament to Good's promise.

And Newcastle's willingness to look so far afield speaks volumes about the resourceful scouting and recruitment structure formed at the biggest club in the north east of England.

Newcastle fans were sceptical when owner Mike Ashley replaced Chris Hughton with Alan Pardew in December 2010.

Hughton had guided the club to promotion at the first attempt a season earlier and appeared to be acquitting himself well with the team back in the top flight.

But in came Wimbledon-born Pardew, prompting Geordie supporters to mutter about a return the 'Cockney Mafia' days of Dennis Wise, who proved an unpopular figure during his time as director of football between January 2008 and April 2009.

Ashley risked incurring further displeasure when he sold Andy Carroll in January 2011, followed by the off-season departures of Kevin Nolan, Joey Barton and Jose Enrique.

But moving on the old guard proved to be a masterstroke, with Pardew and managing director Derek Llambias reinforcing shrewdly.

The appointment of Pardew was not initially popular, but has proved a masterstroke.

Demba Ba joined in a free transfer from West Ham United, and Yohan Cabaye has proven an absolute steal since his £5 million transfer from Lille.

Papiss Cisse [£10 million from Freiburg] did not come cheap in January, but the Senegal striker is a born goalscorer and already looks to be money well spent.

Prior to Pardew's arrival, Llambias oversaw the signing of Hatem Ben Arfa [£5.7 million] and Cheick Tiote [£3.5 million], who have flourished under the new manager.

While relatively sizeable funds have been invested to sharpen Newcastle's attacking threat, it is at the back where the shrewdest moves have been made.

Players who failed to keep Newcastle in the top flight, the likes of Abdoulaye Faye, Habib Beye, Sebastien Bassong and even club stalwart Shay Given, were moved on for a tidy profit.

In their place, Mike Williamson, Danny Simpson and James Perch came in for a combined total of just £2.5 million, while consistent performers Fabrizio Coloccini and Jonas Gutierrez were retained.

And the emergence of goalkeeper Tim Krul, signed as a 17-year-old in 2005, has provided a reliable presence between the posts.

The jury is still out on several other low-budget signings. Midfielder Dan Gosling has made only made 12 league appearances since joining from Everton in 2010.

Sylvain Marveaux has been restricted by injury since arriving from Rennes in June 2011, and Algerian teenager Mehdi Abeid is yet to make a first-team appearance.

If Good wows Pardew and his staff, he could earn a dream move to the English Premier League, and perhaps became Newcastle's latest defensive bargain buy.

It will then be up to the ball-playing Young Socceroo defender to force his way into the reckoning - no small task at a team which has been one of the success stories of the European season.

Even if the trial comes to nothing, the thrilling experience will surely benefit Good, and Newcastle's interest may serve to flush out other clubs keeping tabs on one of Heart's many impressive young guns.

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