Have Newcastle United got their very own Phil Foden in the making?
While much of the attention in the January transfer window was rightly focused on incoming signings at Newcastle United, one outgoing also caught my eye.
That was the loan move of talented midfielder Elliot Anderson to Bristol Rovers, currently managed by former Magpie midfielder Joey Barton.
Steve Bruce gave Anderson two fleeting senior appearance for the club, both against Arsenal in January 2021, but hadn’t featured in first team action in 2021-22, though he continued to excel at under 23 level, scoring five goals in seven appearances.
However, at 19 years of age it was vital for Anderson to get some proper first team experience under his belt.
Heavily linked throughout January with a loan move to Championship side Luton Town, it was something of a surprise when Anderson eventually ended up making a temporary switch to League Two side Bristol Rovers.
However, the move, unlike some temporary transfers that our young players have endured in recent years, has already proven to be a great success.
Since making his debut from the bench in a 1-1 draw against Sutton United, Elliot Anderson has been in Joey Barton’s first eleven for the last ten matches, scoring two goals and claiming two assists.
Anderson’s good form has coincided with an excellent run for Barton’s side, which has pushed them right into play-off contention.
The Newcastle United loanee produced a stunning solo goal on Saturday as he dribbled into the box and added a quality finish. His man of the match performance in a 3-0 home win over Harrogate, means that Elliot Anderson now has a Bristol Rovers record of Played 11 Won 6 Drawn 3 Lost 2.
3 points , goal and MOTM ⛽️ ⛽️ https://t.co/J4waMN9dZK
— Elliot Anderson (@elljanderson) March 12, 2022
No matter how this season ends for Rovers and Anderson, it is proving an incredibly valuable experience and is confirming to the teenage midfielder and Newcastle United that he has the ability to forge a real career for himself in the professional game.
There is obviously a huge gap between the standard of League Two and the Premier League, but it’s a vital first step for Anderson, plus it’s refreshing to see the club secure a temporary move for a player that has been a success.
Joey Barton has been effusive in his praise of Anderson, while Eddie Howe has also stated that he believes Anderson is capable of playing at Championship level as the next stage of his development. With the club likely to spend big on reinforcements once again in the summer, another temporary move, this time to the second tier, seemingly beckons for the talented local boy.
Manchester City’s success under Pep Guardiola has had Phil Foden at its heart. Perhaps, in time, Elliot Anderson could be at the heart of Newcastle United’s.
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