Anthony Gordon has been warned by Eddie Howe that he will “have to earn” the support of Newcastle fans following his £45m move from Everton.
The 21-year-old winger has struggled against a troubled background this season and missed training three times last week as he attempted a move to St James’ Park.
“Anthony has the passion that our fans feed off but he has to earn that support,” Howe said ahead of Tuesday night’s Carabao Cup semi-final second leg at home to Southampton.
Gordon was ruled out for Newcastle’s 1-0 tie but his manager is confident the forward, who can play in the front line, can play a part in their bid to qualify for the Champions League. “He is a young player with great potential who will have a big impact on our season. He is very fast, very dynamic and he is versatile. He can give us something different.
“But the best is yet to come from him; we’re going to support and guide Anthony through his steps. I was definitely very impressed with the person I met yesterday. He handled himself really well.”
In October, Gordon was involved in a heated confrontation with Newcastle’s Kieran Trippier and Fabian Schaar during Everton’s 1-0 defeat at St James’ Park. “Anthony was aggressive in standing up to his opponents and I think the supporters and his new team-mates will love him,” Howe said, laughing off suggestions that his new enthusiasm for football’s “dark arts” had turned him into carbon. Copy of Streetwise Atletico Madrid manager, Diego Simeone.
The arrival of Howe Atal Gordon does not pave the way for the departure of Alan Saint-Maximin. The French winger, among others, is highly coveted by Milan and, due to a massive injury, has not started a Premier League game since August. “Alan is absolutely not going to quit,” Howe said. “He’s here to stay – he’s an integral part of my team.”
One player on the way out is Nottingham Forest-bound Jonjo Shelvey. The midfielder has been injured for much of this season and although he is valued by Howe, Newcastle are reluctant to trigger an automatic one-year contract extension if Shelvey makes another two appearances.
Shelvey’s departure will leave Howe – who is close to completing the £3m signing of 21-year-old West Ham right-back Harrison Ashby – short of experienced central midfield cover and he is likely keen to recruit a replacement on loan. There are talks of signing Sheffield United’s Sander Burge, while Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher and Leicester’s James Maddison are long-term targets.
Howe is anxious to ensure Newcastle reach their first major final since losing to Manchester United in the 1999 FA Cup final. “I have drilled into the players that this tie is by no means over,” he said. “It’s very much in the balance. We need a top performance. It’s going to be tough. I don’t think it will make or break our season but it’s a potentially season-defining game.