Newcastle boss Chris Hughton hailed a potential successor to Alan Shearer after watching Andy Carroll lay the foundation for a thumping 5-1 victory over Cardiff.
The 21-year-old helped himself to two goals as the Magpies extended their unbeaten league run to a club record 15 games and increased their lead at the top of the Coca-Cola Championship table to six points over second-placed West Brom.
Shearer was the last in a long line of legendary Newcastle strikers to wear the famous number nine shirt, which is currently vacant, but Carroll is busily staking his own claim. "Potentially, he is number nine material. He's a player who leads the line," said Hughton.
"In some ways, he's an old-fashioned centre-forward who has a prowess in the air, but he's still developing his game and he has to continue to do that.
"He has good football skills for a big man, but what he has to add to his game is goals, and he was able to do that."
Hughton later rated his side's performance as the most eye-catching of the season to date.
He said: "There have been some really good performances - I think you can take as much out of Sheffield United away 1-0 as you can here.
"But from a footballing point of view, this is the most pleasing."
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