Newcastle United have been in phenomenal form over the season so far and Eddie Howe will be hoping that the club can reap the rewards of the team's consistency by qualifying for the Champions League.
The Magpies are currently fifth in the top-flight table and just two points behind Tottenham Hotspur in fourth with two games in hand on their top-four rivals. That puts them in an excellent position to achieve their dreams of taking the final spot in the prestigious European competition next season.
Indeed, it is no secret that the North East club has become one of the richest on the planet following their Saudi takeover in late 2021 and the arrival of the new owners has sparked a new lease of life much quicker than expected due to their outstanding recruitment of players like Sven Botman, Kieran Trippier and Bruno Guimaraes.
However, it has to be noted that the Newcastle boss has worked wonders on the players who were already on Tyneside before the club changed hands with Miguel Almiron, Sean Longstaff and Joelinton all flourishing and key components to the success under Howe despite suffering relegation troubles ahead of his appointment.
This week against Nottingham Forest, another player grasped the golden opportunity to prove himself in the highly competitive side with a fantastic performance from homegrown talent Elliot Anderson - a refreshing sight in a squad that has been significantly enhanced by costly incomings.
There is no doubt that it has become difficult for players to break into a formidable midfield set-up of Longstaff, Guimaraes and Joelinton this season with Jonjo Shelvey ultimately being granted a departure in the January transfer window.
Nevertheless, Anderson had no trouble staking his claim for a regular spot in the first team at the City Ground, coincidentally against Shelvey, where he put in an impressive performance out of position on the left flank.
Over his 45-minute performance, the £30k-per-week ace - hailed a "bright talent" by assistant head coach Jason Tindall - completed 100% of his dribbles, won four duels and two tackles, as well as having two shots on goal.
Anderson was also extremely unlucky to have his first-ever Premier League goal ruled out in a controversial VAR decision that struck off his phenomenal strike when Dan Burn was considered to be offside in the build-up for the goal. However, that takes nothing away from the young Geordie's outstanding effort.
It comes as no surprise that the 20-year-old excelled in the attacking phases of play as his style of play has remarkably been compared to that of a young Diego Maradona by Joey Barton whilst on loan with Bristol Rovers last season:
The former Newcastle man said: "I’ve been listening to Bill Shankley tapes a lot today.
"He talked a lot about a 19-year-old Diego Maradona and how he slows down in the penalty area, exactly like Elliot Anderson does. (He is) such a talent."
The performance put on by Anderson on the left flank could now spark another Joelinton moment for Howe.
Indeed, it is obvious that the youngster thrives in a more advanced role than his previously deployed position in midfield, and the manager could now nurture his clear strengths as he did with the Brazilian.
Joelinton's remarkable transformation from struggling striker to midfield dynamo is well-documented and that masterclass could well be replicated here, with a change of position potentially in the pipeline for Anderson.
With that being said, Howe should definitely look to incorporate the 20-year-old into more games over the remainder of the season as he has clearly shown he has all the potential to become an important part of the future at St James' Park.2023-03-19T13:23:05Z dg43tfdfdgfd