Amid a wretched start to the new Premier League season that has seen Newcastle United currently without a win, Steve Bruce will be desperately hoping for some better fortune when the international break ends later this week.
One way for Bruce to attempt to turn things around and give the club and its fans some hope and optimism for the future, is by turning to the club’s academy system.
Elliot Anderson is one of the Magpies’ prized jewels and was in excellent form for the Tyneside club’s U23s last season, scoring five goals and providing a further assist in just nine games at Premier League 2 level.
The Athletic’s Chris Waugh delivered a key update on where things currently stand with Anderson following the Magpies’ 6-1 drubbing at the hands of Aston Villa in the FA Youth Cup towards the end of the previous campaign, saying: “Anderson continues to train with the NUFC first team and there have been suggestions that, with Steve Bruce’s side edging towards safety, the 18-year-old may get a few cameo appearances between now and the end of the season.”
The attacking midfielder’s knack for breaking into the box and grabbing a goal is something Newcastle have only really seen from Joe Willock, with The Chronicle journalist Lee Ryder suggesting earlier last season that Anderson is “banging on Steve Bruce’s door now” thanks to his performance.
His former youth coach John Forrest, meanwhile, told The Athletic: “He knew how to dominate a game, which is a natural skill that’s hard to coach. He really was an outstanding footballer. He stood out, even then.”
Several of Anderson’s former Newcastle academy team-mates meanwhile have told The Athletic that, not only was he the “most talented player” in the team, he was also “supremely driven”.
Bruce himself admitted towards the end of last season, saying: “There’s a chance. We understand that he’s making big strides. And he’s only 18, the boy, but he’s in and around us. Yeah, he might get a chance before the end of the season. I’ll look at it, and what we’ve got. We’ve got our big players fit at the top of the pitch, of course, in Allan, Callum and Joelinton. He’s got fierce competition.”
Anderson played just three minutes of top-flight football all season, coming on in the closing stages of the 3-0 defeat to Arsenal back in mid-January. The lack of game-time for the talented teenager has led to plenty of Newcastle fans, on different occasions, calling for Bruce to bring him into the first team fold, but that has fallen on deaf ears.
Just recently, Magpies supporters voiced their anger at seeing him fail to even make the matchday squad against West Brom, while after he made his debut for England’s U19s, they urged Bruce to unleash him in the Premier League.
It may now be the perfect time for Bruce to listen to the fans and actually give one of the club’s most promising academy prospects a chance in the first-team, and arresting this poor run of form.
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