Newcastle United lost against Manchester City in the Premier League on January 13. However, while the loss has been hard to swallow, Newcastle put up a lot of fight despite fielding a very weakened squad.
It is because the team was devoid of many first-team starters due to injuries. This means they had to start a 17-year-old in midfield against the defending champions. This was a dream come true for Lewis Miley, who has broken records since making his debut for the Magpies.
Miley is the product of Newcastle Youth Academy, where he has been for ten years since he joined at seven. He has already debuted in the Premier League and Champions League and scored them in, too, to become the youngest goalscorer for the club in the league.
However, facing City might be the biggest challenge he faced in his short professional football career, And while Miley fared poorly, he still can be proud of the rapid strides he has made in his career.
So, who is Lewis Miley, and how good is he?
Who is Lewis Miley
Lewis Miley was born on May 1, 2006, in Durham, England. From a young age, Miley’s interest in football got a stamp of approval when he was accepted into Newcastle United’s youth academy at seven.
Miley first came into notice when he debuted for the youth squad in the under-18 Premier League at the start of the 2021-22 season. A month later, he would score his first goal and provide his first assist in the same game against Derby County. He ended the season with two goals and two assists.
Miley was, however, making rapid strides, and the coaches at the club noticed this. So, in the 2022-23 season, Miley represented the under-18s and under-21s in the Premier League 2. The teenager was at his best in Premier League 2, scoring two goals and providing five assists in just eight games.
These performances were rewarded with a call-up to the senior team, where he made his debut on April 4, 2023.
Lewis Miley stats
With his debut done at the end of the 2022-23 season, big things were expected from Miley in the current season. And the playmaker has not disappointed. Milley has racked up 660 minutes this season with an assist and a goal to his name in the league.
His maiden goal came against Fulham. Eddie Howe also gave the midfielder game time in the Champions League, where he provided an assist to Joelinton. For a player who has played sparsely this season, Miley has brilliant assists.
The teenager has created six chances and completed five successful dribbles, winning 24 duels. Data from fbref shows that he initiated 1.92 blocks per 90 minutes this season, which put him in the top four percentile of midfielders. He also ranks among the top ten percentile when it comes to passes blocked.
— Opta Analyst (@OptaAnalyst) November 25, 2023
Lewis Miley style of play
Lewis Miley can be best described as a roaming playmaker. His heatmap is, at best, sporadic because of the few minutes he has played this season. However, Miley’s brilliance is when he is without the ball. His intelligent movement helps in opening gaps in the opposition’s defence.
Miley has also worked well in partnership with right-back Kieran Trippier, helping create overloads on the right wing to overwhelm the opposition. In this instance, he drags a player out of position, allowing Trippier to swing in a cross. While Trippier is doing this, Miley drifts inside the box to increase the number of options for his teammates.
Fbref data shows he has 3.52 touches in the penalty area among the top three percentile of midfielders. Miley has also learnt a lot playing with Bruno Guimaraes. Since the Brazilian is an impressive number six, he allows his other two midfield partners to roam forward.
His outing against City was far from his best, as he only had a 67 per cent passing accuracy. However, even then, he managed to create one chance, which shows that his massive talent needs to be nurtured to become a future Newcastle star.
Lewis Miley potential
If a player at 17 is playing for a Champions League side’s midfield, then it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Lewis Miley is a prodigy. Moreover, Newcastle are a team whose approach to the game after their ownership change has been unique.
While Newcastle have splurged money on signing quality players, they have also given players from the previous ownerships, like Sean Longstaff and Joelionton, a chance in the team. Based on this evidence, Miley is likely to become an integral part of the Magpies setup.
For now, though, Miley needs to ensure that he finishes this season on a high so he can get a full pre-season with the senior squad, which will be the first important step in his senior career. The signs till now are promising, though, and Durham’s legacy of producing world-class footballers has found a new lease of life.