Eddie Howe has backed Anthony Gordon to improve on a promising debut for Newcastle United.
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The £40m signing was handed a run out of slightly over 20 minutes against West Ham on Saturday, six days after joining the club from Everton.
While Gordon was unable to find a breakthrough as Newcastle hit their fourth draw in five League games, there were certainly flashes of his quality.
Clearly, the 21-year-old has a lot to prove. Hardly in excellent form at Everton prior to his controversial departure and coming with a big price tag, it will be fascinating to see how he develops under Howe, who has yielded vast improvement from players through coaching while on Tyneside.
Gordon has plenty of time in which to grow and there were some promising signs during his first appearance in black and white on Saturday.
What has Howe said about Anthony Gordon’s Newcastle debut?
Speaking after the game, Howe said (via the Northern Echo): “I was very pleased with him (Gordon). Your first action here at St James’ Park is important. I think his first pass was a brilliant one, and he injected some life into us at a time when we needed it in the game.
“I’m disappointed for him that we couldn’t get him in the box and see what he can do closer to goal, but he did really well when he came on.
“I don’t think there’s necessarily a limit (on what he can do straightaway), but I think he will benefit so much from training with us. This week, the training he has had has been more individual based than training with the team, and that makes it very difficult to build relationships within the team.”
How well did Gordon play against West Ham?
The England U21 international could well have had an assist on his debut were it not for an excellent Nayef Aguerd tackle to deny Callum Wilson a second goal after Gordon’s brilliant through ball.
After a limited time training with his new teammates, that would have been quite the way to start.
According to WhoScored data, Gordon was one of only five Newcastle players to play a key pass (outdoing the ineffective Allan Saint-Maximin on that front), while he also had a shot (of which only four of his teammates also managed), and found the mark with his one through ball.
Certainly, there are promising signs to build on.