Anthony Gordon has been warned by Eddie Howe he will “have to earn” the support of Newcastle fans after a £45 million (€51.25 million) transfer from Everton.
The 21-year-old winger has struggled, albeit against a troubled backdrop, this season and missed training three times last week as he attempted to force through a move to St James’ Park.
“Anthony has the passion that our fans will feed off but he will have to earn that support,” said Howe before Tuesday night’s Carabao Cup semi-final second leg at home to Southampton.
Gordon is ineligible for a tie Newcastle lead 1-0 but his manager is convinced a forward capable of playing across the front line can play a part in their attempt to qualify for the Champions League. “He’s a young player with huge potential to have a big impact on our season. He’s very quick, very dynamic and he’s versatile. He can give us something different.
“But the best is yet to come from him; we’re going to have to support and guide Anthony through his move. Certainly I was very impressed by the person I met yesterday. He handled himself really well.”
In October, Gordon became embroiled in feisty clashes with Newcastle’s Kieran Trippier and Fabian Schär as Everton lost 1-0 at St James’ Park. “Anthony was aggressive in standing up to his opponents and I think the supporters and his new team-mates will come to love that about him,” said Howe, laughing off suggestions that his new enthusiasm for football’s “dark arts” had turned him into a carbon copy of the streetwise Atlético Madrid manager, Diego Simeone.
Howe was adamant Gordon’s arrival will not pave the way for Allan Saint-Maximin’s departure. The French winger is much coveted by, among others, AC Milan and, largely due to injury, has not started a Premier League game since August. “Allan is absolutely not leaving,” said Howe. “He’s here to stay – he’s an integral part of my team.”
One player on the way out is the Nottingham Forest-bound Jonjo Shelvey. The midfielder has been injured for most of this season and although he is valued by Howe, Newcastle are reluctant to trigger the automatic one-year contract extension if Shelvey makes another two appearances.
Shelvey’s departure would leave Howe – who is close to completing the £3 million signing of the 21-year-old West Ham right back Harrison Ashby – lacking experienced central midfield cover and he is keen to recruit a replacement, possibly on loan. Discussions are under way about recruiting Sheffield United’s Sander Berge, while Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher and Leicester’s James Maddison remain long-term targets..
Howe is anxious to ensure Newcastle reach a first major final since they lost the 1999 FA Cup final to Manchester United. “I’ve drilled it into the players that this tie is by no means over,” he said. “It’s very much in the balance. We’re going to need a top performance. It’s going to be difficult. I don’t think it will make or break our season but it’s a potentially season-defining game.” – Guardian