Newcastle have a gem in Gordon and we have never been so wrong about a player

Jason Soutar
Anthony Gordon celebrates his goal with Alexander Isak.
Anthony Gordon celebrates his goal with Alexander Isak.

Anthony Gordon is having an incredible season for Newcastle United and football fans as a collective have never been so wrong about a footballer. And we stand right at the front of that crowd, looking rather sheepish.

Talk of a £40million-plus transfer from Everton was met with bafflement and mockery; Gordon had done very little to merit that sort of fee. Chelsea were interested before anyone else but it was Newcastle who landed him in January after he controversially forced a move out of Goodison Park.

I was one of many who just didn’t see it. Being able to admit when you are wrong is an admirable trait and that is where we now firmly stand. Mea culpa. Mea an idiot.

Gordon scored seven goals and provided eight assists in 78 appearances for Everton, meaning he only had two more goal contributions than yellow cards, which isn’t ideal for a forward player. In mitigation, the Toffees were terrible and his manager was Frank Lampard.

Theatrical when receiving any form of contact with a little bit of nastiness to his game, Gordon was easily dislikeable, which potentially contributed to how he was rated by fans of the Premier League. Literally not turning up for work to force a move to Newcastle, the 22-year-old was not exactly keen to change the narrative.

But then came Eddie Howe.

Howe has spent a lot of money at St James’ Park but the way he has developed certain players has been outstanding. From Joelinton to Fabian Schar, there are not many better coaches in the Premier League.

Gordon could be the biggest success story of the lot. It looked like a tough task to justify spending such a huge fee on a player of Gordon’s (lack of) standing and he has done that within a year, making fans like myself look rather foolish.

Obviously, it was a slow start for Gordon, which was understandable having left Merseyside for another part of the country at such a young age, but the fact it only took one pre-season to become such an integral part of a Champions League side competing at the top end of the Premier League is commendable.

He has not proven himself to be a flat-track bully, either. Six goals and five assists in 13 Premier League appearances this term is an incredible return and when you see that he scored against Liverpool, has match-winning goals against Arsenal and Manchester United, and scored and assisted in an emphatic win over Chelsea, you can’t help but be impressed.

The one worrying aspect of Gordon’s goalscoring exploits is his lack of goals on the road. He scored in the humungous win at Sheffield United, but who didn’t? His two goal contributions that day are his only ones of the season in a stadium not called St James’ Park. A goal contribution in every home league game this season makes up for it; especially when you consider the Magpies’ worryingly different approach when playing away from home.

He is a big-game player, showing shades of Raheem Sterling at Manchester City with his ability to drive with the ball and pop up in the right place at the right time, often at the back post or on the line. Even when he was at Everton, he showed he will run himself into the ground and he is doing that for Newcastle, making him invaluable and an absolute dream for any manager.

It’s hard to believe that the player we saw at Everton is becoming a certainty to go to Euro 2024 with England after being named player of the tournament for the Under-21s in the European Championships this summer. Scotland have missed their chance with this one. He is definitely good enough to represent the Three Lions and is currently ahead of Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish in the left-wing race.

Perhaps I am speaking for myself when saying Gordon’s quick development at Newcastle has come as a surprise. Or maybe I am the only one brave enough to admit it. If you genuinely saw this coming, fair play. I won’t believe you, but yeah…well done.

Either way, a player has never done such a stellar job to prove so many football fans wrong in such a short period of time.

Newcastle have got themselves a gem and amazingly, we will probably look back on the £45m transfer and say it was a bargain. Take this as a long-winded apology, Anthony. You’re alright after all.