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Anthony Gordon: Newcastle’s in-form winger makes second return to Everton every inch a £45m player | Football News

Anthony Gordon will be reminded of what he left behind – and indeed how far he has come – when he returns to face Everton in the Premier League this week.

Gordon limped off in the closing stages of Newcastle’s 1-0 win over Manchester United on Saturday after complaining of a tightness in his hip, but it would need to be something very serious to prevent the boyhood Evertonian from facing his former club.

He joined as an 11-year-old, and made his first Premier League start against Liverpool. It part-explains the player’s disappointment when reflecting on how Everton handled his departure 11 months ago.

What Gordon told Sky Sports on Everton exit…

“My whole life has been at Everton. I grew up in Everton, it was a massive place in my heart and my life, which I’ll never forget. And from afar I’ll always be rooting for them, always wishing them the best. Once things like that happen [fans turning on squad], it’s hard to recover from, especially because I’m from there. I grew up on those streets.”

On his club’s three-line statement announcing his departure, Gordon admitted: “It hurt me a bit, I’m not going to lie. I thought as a club with thousands of people working for them and the effort I gave them last year, I was a massive part in keeping the club up, I won players’ player and manager’s player of the year… so for them to not even show me any credit or thank me for anything, it hurt me a little bit.”

The Magpies head to Merseyside on Thursday already further depleted following the news Nick Pope is expected to be sidelined for at least four months with the goalkeeper set to undergo surgery on a dislocated shoulder.

Those saddled with attacking responsibilities have a significant burden to bear – but Gordon has elevated his game to a new level and the 22-year-old is ready to embrace the challenge.

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Ranks correct as of December 4

As he makes his second return to Goodison Park since sealing his move to St James’ Park – for an initial £40m plus a potential £5m in add-ons – the player knows what to expect from those who once cherished him as one of their own.

“This game coming up is no different for me than any other,” Gordon told Newcastle’s in-house media.

“It’s another game I’m looking to perform in and win. We’re in a really good place. We know the environment we’re going to go into on Thursday. It’s no secret and we need to be ready for that.”

Anthony Gordon makes it 1-0
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Gordon has a knack of arriving at the far post

Everton suffered their heaviest home league defeat to Newcastle since Boxing Day 1933 back in April when Eddie Howe’s side moved closer to wrapping up Champions League qualification with a 4-1 win at Goodison.

Gordon was only used as a late substitute, but his is likely to be one of the first names on Howe’s team sheet this time around provided he is declared fit.

Last weekend against Manchester United, he became the first Newcastle player to score in four consecutive home Premier League appearances since Joe Willock in May 2021.

It was the first goal United had shipped in the Premier League since Phil Foden’s strike for Man City in October, ending their run of 334 minutes without conceding in the competition.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights of the Premier League clash between Newcastle and Manchester United.

At Newcastle Gordon looks liberated while towards the end of his time at Everton, such a mean streak was perceived as petulance, even an attitude problem.

Rafa Benitez, during an interview with Sky Sports last year, even questioned if the mindset matched his huge promise.

“We played a friendly in Miami in pre-season and after 50 minutes, he couldn’t run,” the former Everton manager said.

Anthony Gordon celebrates scoring the opening goal at St James' Park
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Gordon has produced 346 sprints – only Heung-Min Son (359) has more this season

“We knew he was a player with quality on the ball, could finish, pass and had pace. But he couldn’t run. We had a conversation with him after the game. It was hot, but he’s a young player.

“I was talking with the coaches in the academy and my assistant and they said they weren’t sure. They knew he had the talent but maybe it was his mentality.”

Six yellow cards in just 13 league appearances tells you the player still needs to work on his discipline – but it also reflects the high intensity and aggression Howe demands from his side.

Newcastle United's English midfielder Anthony Gordon runs with the ball during the Premier League football match against Manchester United at St James' Park with Kobbie Mainoo in pursuit
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Gordon’s directness and decision-making has improved

Only Heung-Min Son has produced more sprints in the entire league this season. Only three players have drawn more fouls.

When Gordon left Everton, there were those who balked at the transfer fee. But the player never doubted himself, saying at the time: “I think the fan base and the city really suits me as a person.

“The way the team are playing under the gaffer really suits me, and the club just look like they’re heading in the right direction.

Anthony Gordon wheels away from goal after putting Newcastle in front
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Gordon wheels away from goal after his latest goal

“I feel like it’s a really big step. People haven’t seen what I’m capable of yet.”

It felt a barbed response to those who had questioned Newcastle’s sizeable outlay. Those questions are no longer being asked; Gordon is now one of the club’s most important players.

“There’s no doubt about that,” Jamie Carragher told Monday Night Football last week. “I think he’s been Newcastle’s best player – and they’ve made a great start to the season.

“They’ve had some big Champions League results and you look at where they find themselves in the Premier League – right now it’s where you’d expect them to be, fighting to be in the Champions League again.

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Jamie Carragher and Freddie Ljungberg discuss whether Anthony Gordon is now Newcastle’s most influential player.

“I think he’s been outstanding. When they first made that purchase from Everton for £40m, people thought it was a decent price.

“I think you’re looking at it right now and thinking, ‘that looks cheap’. When you look at his goals and assists this season, you also have to look at the quality of the opposition.

“Trent Alexander-Arnold should have been sent off against him when he also scored against Liverpool, and he forced the red card for Reece James in Chelsea’s defeat.”

Can Gordon answer England’s left-sided call?

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The Athletic’s football correspondent David Ornstein and The Mirror’s chief football writer John Cross discuss reports Scotland may make a move for Anthony Gordon, as he awaits his England call-up.

There have also been recent reports of Scotland looking into prising Gordon away from England given the raft of attacking options available to Gareth Southgate.

Gordon has Scottish paternal grandparents but Southgate made it clear that the man named Player of the Tournament at last summer’s U21 European Championships was very much on his radar despite not getting a call for the most recent international camp.

Southgate said: “He is a good player. He was very good with our U21s last year and is very close. I like his attitude, I like the way he works hard for the team.

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England manager Gareth Southgate says Newcastle forward Anthony Gordon could be called up to the international squad soon, after rumours Scotland are trying to persuade Gordon to play for them.

“Of course he was hoping to get a call at this moment but there are good players playing well in this position but like a couple of others, they have to think further ahead about opportunities which will come up and for someone like Anthony that is eminently possible with us.”

Given the continual domestic toils of Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish, on current form it is Gordon whose place in the next England squad would be fully vindicated. The evidence is in his growing maturity and in-game intelligence.

Another star turn back in familiar surroundings would only strengthen his growing case.

Gordon is playing himself into Southgate’s thinking ahead of the European Championships. As so often this season, he is timing his run to perfection.

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