Newcastle United winger Anthony Gordon has been given an opportunity to impress Eddie Howe this season, and Sky Sports reporter Keith Downie has provided some insight to GIVEMESPORT from inside the club.
Downie has also revealed what it could mean for Harvey Barnes, who joined the club from Leicester City in the summer transfer window.
Newcastle United news - Anthony Gordon
Gordon, who is earning £60k-a-week, signed for Newcastle from struggling Everton last season during the January window for a fee of £45m, as per Sky Sports. The Liverpool-born forward failed to make much of an impact in the second half of last term when he signed on the dotted line at St James' Park, but Howe has trusted him in his front line this campaign. Gordon has started all four Premier League games so far, scoring a goal and providing a single assist, as per FBref.
New signing Barnes is yet to start a game due to Gordon's form, which is an impressive achievement for the latter considering the quality of the former. Gordon didn't make a huge impact for the Toffees before his switch to Newcastle, scoring seven goals and providing eight assists for the Merseyside club, according to Transfermarkt, so it was a bold move from the Magpies to spend a significant fee on the youngster.
Gordon's performances for England U21s may have tempted Newcastle to take a risk on the 22-year-old last season, and he was even named the Player of the Tournament during the U21 European Championships in the summer.
Barnes could struggle to displace Gordon for Newcastle - Keith Downie
Having two top players competing for one position will always be healthy, especially when the North East club starts participating in the Champions League. The hectic schedule that comes with playing European football means Howe will need depth in his squad, and Barnes is certainly an adequate backup.
However, there's no doubt the former Leicester winger will be desperate to earn a starting spot, but Sky Sports reporter Downie believes it won't be easy for him. Downie adds that Howe is really pleased with Gordon's performances so far this season. Speaking to GIVEMESPORT, he said...
"He's beginning to look at home in a Newcastle shirt, and no performance said that more than against Liverpool a few weeks ago. The way he took the goal. Beside from that, he looked dangerous every time he went up against Trent Alexander-Arnold, every time he cut in from the left-hand side. Could have had another goal or two, setting up the sending off for Virgil van Dijk on Alexander Isak. It was Gordon's through ball, cutting off the left touch line and playing a nice through ball that made van Dijk lunge in. He just looks really suited to Newcastle United and the way they play football. So much so that I think Harvey Barnes is going to have a tough time getting into the team. Gordon looks every bit an Eddie Howe player at the moment, and I know for a fact that he's really pleased with the output he's had from him in the first four games of the season."
Gordon failed to make much of an impact when given the opportunity last season, and there's no doubt he's shown plenty of improvement after a full pre-season under Howe. When he first arrived on Tyneside, it looked like Gordon would have to get used to a squad role, and the arrival of Barnes could have further cemented that theory.
However, Gordon has taken his chance with both hands this campaign, and it could be tricky for Barnes to displace him in the starting 11 in the near future.
Anthony Gordon's average match ratings
Newcastle - Premier League - 2023/2024
Newcastle - Premier League - 2022/2023
Everton - Premier League - 2022/2023
Everton - Premier League - 2021/2022
All ratings via WhoScored
Does Barnes have a chance of replacing Gordon in the starting XI?
Gordon is, of course, still very young and raw, and producing consistently throughout the whole season will be important if he wants to keep Barnes away from the side. However, with the former Leicester winger breathing down his neck, who came to the club with an impressive goal contributions record, Gordon needs to be at the top of his game.
As per Transfermarkt, Barnes scored 45 goals and provided 32 assists for Leicester, including 13 strikes last campaign, despite their relegation to the Championship. Downie previously told GIVEMESPORT that Gordon's fitness wasn't up to scratch when he arrived at St James', so continuously working hard on the training ground will be imperative.