Magpies coach Ben Dawson praised Cal Roberts’ display as his Under-21s made EFL Trophy progress by beating Grimsby Town on Tuesday. Roberts joined Elias Sorensen and Matty Longstaff on the scoresheet in an entertaining encounter at Blundell Park that saw United recover from an early setback to lead twice before ultimately clinching a 3-2 victory.
Dawson was delighted as his young side can now look forward to the knockout round after maintaining their 100 per cent record in the group phase.
“It’s been great to win the three games, and it’s been great to do it playing the type of football we want to play,” he told nufc.co.uk. “We’ve got a great group. They’ve got good character, good togetherness, and when we’ve fallen a goal behind in recent seasons, it’s led to two, then three. “But, because this group have developed that resilience over a period of time, it doesn’t affect them. They learned from the individual errors that led to their first goal, dealt with it, got themselves back on the front foot and back to what we do best.”
Danish striker Sorensen’s goalscoring exploits have led to a clamour from fans for him to be called up by Rafa Benitez but Dawson was quick to praise talented wide-man Roberts – who was deployed in a number 10 role against Grimsby.
He added: “There has been a lot of press around Elias, for obvious reasons, because of his goalscoring form, but that also means that some of the others – like Cal, and some of the others who have been contributing – kind of go under the radar, and they don’t get as much attention in games from the opposition as what Elias has had.
“Cal’s scored the first, then he plays a great cross to the back post to Elias for the second, and then wins the free kick. I think he needs a bit of recognition given his performance tonight, and his performances in the other two games.”