Carroll can give inspiration to the next generation
It would appear that Chris Hughton has got it right again when it comes to his timing in giving the number 9 shirt to Andy Carroll.
Last season Hughton opted against giving the coveted shirt out in the aftermath of relegation to the Championship, with enough hype surrounding the freshly relegated Magpies in the second tier.
It was a brave decision, but at that time with Carroll on just three senior goals, it would have been too early to place so much expectation on his shoulders.
Some might say it's too early now.
But at 21 and as top scorer last season for a team that won the Championship title, if Hughton had have ducked out of giving Carroll the honour now, you have to ask when?
Carroll himself was inspired by Shearer the player and admits as his hero, he always aimed high to emulate him.
Now it will be up to Carroll to inspire the next generation, starting already with teenager Phil Airey, who has tried the reserve team number 9 on for size and impressed.
It can only be healthy for any club to have quality youngsters coming through the ranks, and while there's been plenty of mistakes made elsewhere at Newcastle in the last few years, the Academy continues to attempt to produce fresh young talent.
And if they're Geordies, then all the better.
Carroll goes into the season as a role model complete with that much desired shirt, and he'll have the whole of Tyneside behind him as he looks to live up to the legendary shirt.