‘A fantastic understanding of the game’ - what Bristol Rovers fans can expect from Elliot Anderson
NewcastleWorld’s football reporter Jordan Cronin gives us an idea of what kind of player Elliot Anderson is like
His arrival was announced at just shy of the eleventh hour after the Gas had explored a few targets throughout the day but they had landed on their man.
Not less than a day later, another midfielder came through the door as Jon Nolan was signed up on a free transfer after his release from Ipswich Town.
Despite Nolan’s arrival taking a slight gloss off of Anderson’s signing, there is still a feeling of excitement of what this young player can offer at his new club.
Firstly, just who is Elliot Anderson and should Bristol Rovers fans be excited?
Anderson is one of Newcastle United’s brightest young talents. The Whitley Bay-born midfielder has been on the club’s books since he was eight-years-old and signed his first professional contract before his 18th birthday. Should Rovers fans be excited? Yes, absolutely. This is a player tipped to have a big future in the game after making his Magpies debut in January last year against Arsenal.
Anderson is a midfielder but what kind of midfielder is he? What are his best attributes?
Anderson is an all-rounder. He can play as a number 10, or as a number 8. Or even as a wide player. He has a fantastic understanding of the game, is technically very good and can score goals from all distances. His vision is a real bonus, while he isn’t frightened to drive forward with the ball.
He was captain of the U18s and U23s in the EFL Trophy, is he a good leader?
He is actually quite a shy person. Rather than being a vocal presence, the captaincy is more of a reflection of him leading by example in terms of footballing ability. In the under-18s and under-23s set up in recent years, Anderson has been an obvious class above.
It is said that Barton’s relationship with Shola Ameobi and Steve Harper played a role in this signing, has there been a positive relationship with Barton before and has there been a success in loaning out young players?
Barton was obviously teammates with Ameobi and Harper at Newcastle, so that will have undoubtedly helped facilitate the Anderson move. But when Barton was Fleetwood manager, I can’t recall any NUFC youngsters that were signed. The success of loans has been a rarity recently - but I’m sure Anderson will break the trend.
Bristol Rovers have signed Elliot Anderson, there were links with Luton which apparently was a 12-month saga, what happened there?
Anderson has been admired by Luton for the last 12 months but last year, Newcastle refused to loan him out. Now when it was agreed Anderson should depart on loan, Luton couldn’t because their squad size was too big.
Anderson was twice named on the substitutes bench in the Prem this season, does that highlight how talented he is to be considered?
Anderson’s inclusion on the bench over Christmas was mostly because of a Covid-19 outbreak at the club. However, take nothing away from the midfielder. He’s continued to train with the first-team under Howe and has impressed United’s head coach a lot.
He was given his debut by Steve Bruce, did he think highly of him and does the new staff like what they see from him too?
Bruce was a huge fan of Anderson - he was regularly named on the bench before his Premier League and FA Cup debut in January 2020. It’s the same feeling from Howe. Speaking about him and Joe White - who joined Hartlepool United on loan - Howe said recently: ‘Joe White and Elliot Anderson are very good technical players. I’ve been really impressed with them and their attitudes as well, it’s spot on. Really, really good. I see a really bright future for both players here’.
He had an injury that had him out for 140 days, has he played much minutes? Does he train with the first-team or the Under-23’s and how is he managed?
Injurieshave definitely prevented Anderson from making more first-team appearances following his breakthrough last January. He has been in fine form for Newcastle’s under-23s, though, scoring seven goals in nine outings this term. It was crucial he went out on loan in January. I’m sure he’ll shine for Bristol Rovers.