How Anthony Gordon established himself as Newcastle's difference-maker


Newcastle United’s decision to part with £45m to secure the services of Anthony Gordon was met with ridicule back in January 2023. It was big money for a young forward with just seven career goals for Everton across 78 appearances.  


That sort of money is usually reserved for genuine goal threats. The players with a catalogue of big goals and big moments.  


And at one stage, Gordon had more yellow cards for the Magpies than he did goals.   


Yet now, 15 months into his Newcastle career, that particular transfer is looking more and more like a bargain. Gordon netted his 10th goal of the season in the Premier League in the emphatic win over Spurs last weekend 


It was a performance that earned him a perfect WhoScored 10 rating after the Liverpool-born winger directly involved himself in three of the four goals scored by the hosts as Eddie Howe’s men climbed to sixth in the table.  


For a period, it appeared as though Newcastle’s campaign would fizzle out and a mid-table finish would be the best they could hope for. But four wins from their last six in the English top-flight have catapulted them up the table and there’s a chance they claim a Europa Conference League place.  


During this run, Gordon had added two goals and three assists to his haul for the season. The 23-year-old now has 18 goal involvements in 30 appearances. Alexander Isak (17) is the only Newcastle player to have more goals while only Kieran Trippier (10) has more assists this term. Only Cole Palmer (17) has directly contributed to more home goals than Gordon (15) this season.


Gordon doesn’t get the plaudits that go the way of Isak or Trippier, but he’s arguably been just as influential as the pair. In fact, you could make the case that the two-cap England international has been even more impactful than the free-scoring Swede or Newcastle’s creator-in-chief.  


He isn’t just scoring goals or chipping in with assists. He’s doing it in the big games. He’s scored against Spurs, Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal, Manchester  City and Liverpool this season. He’s also assisted in games against the likes of Aston Villa, Liverpool, Chelsea, West Ham and Tottenham.  


How Anthony Gordon established himself as Newcastle's difference-maker


He’s been involved in 26% of the goals scored by the Magpies this term. Not bad for a player dubbed as immature and erratic.  


The former Everton man has showcased his versatility and footballing IQ this season. He’s played a variety of roles and done a number of jobs for Newcastle. The No.10 gave a little insight into his intelligence as a player following the win over Spurs on Saturday afternoon.   


Speaking afterwards, he revealed a tactical tweak implemented by Howe and executed by players.  


"We knew we couldn’t play our normal way against this team because they are so good with the ball so we tactically changed a little bit and went man for man," he said.  


"I think our game plan the manager put us with was outstanding and helped us throughout the game. I think especially at St James' with the crowd, if you can score back-to-back quite close together it can feel like the stadium can suffocate you and trust me, I have been here as an away player and it definitely feels like that." 


Gordon scored just two minutes after Isak fired in the opener to completely stun a Spurs side chasing a top-four finish.  


The England international could force his way into Gareth Southgate’s squad for the Euros. If the former Boro boss picks his squad on form rather than reputation, Gordon probably deserves a place. But the final third is a fiercely competitive area of the pitch for the Three Lions. The likes of Cole Palmer, Phil Foden and Bukayo Saka all have more goal involvements than Gordon but there’s no reason the Newcastle man shouldn’t be ahead of, say, Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford in the pecking order.  


He would give England a directness and an aggressiveness that they might otherwise lack. He could be a difference-maker and a game-changer for Southgate and his side, just as he has been for Newcastle this season.

How Anthony Gordon established himself as Newcastle's difference-maker